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4-General Meetings 

I. Address by the President, the Right Hon. Arthur J. Balfour, 
M.P., F.R.S 

II. On the Difficulty of Making Crucial Experiments as to the Sources 
of the Extra or Unusual Intelligence Manifested in Trance- 
Speech, Automatic Writing, and other States of A25parent 
y Mental Inactivity. By Professor Oliver J. Lodge, F.R.S. 

''lIII. Report on the Census of Hallucinations. By Professor 
^ Sidgwick's Committee 





Chapter I. — Introductory... ... ... ... ... 25 

,, II. — Method of Conducting the Enquiry and 

General Results ... ... 33 

,, III. — Discussion of the Trustworthiness of our 

Results ... ... ... ... 54 

,, IV. — Hallucinations and Pseudo-Hallucinations 70 

,, V. — The Relation of Illusions to Hallucinations 94 

,, VI. — Form and Development of Hallucinations 113 

,, VII. — Physiology of Hallucinations ... ... 134 

,, VIII. — Age, Sex, Heredity, Nationality, and 
Health. Recurrent Hallucina- 
tions 149 

,, IX. — Mental and Nervous Conditions in con- 
nexion with Hallucinations ... 166 
,, X. — Expectancy and Suggestion ... ... 174 

,, XL — Organic Effects accompanying Hallucina- 
tions 198 

^ ,, XII.— Death-Coincidences 207 

,, XIII.— Chance Coincidence... ... ... ... 245 

,, XIV. — Veridical Hallucinations continued : Fur- 
ther Coincidental Cases . . . 252 

,, XV.— Collective Hallucinations .303 

,, XVI. — Premonitions and Local Apparitions ... .331 

,, XVII. — Phantasms of the Dead ... ... ... 364 

Conclusion ... ... ... ... ... ... ... 392 

Appendix ... ... ... ... ... ... ... 402 


Review : — Mr. Andrew Lang's " Cock Lane and Common 
Sense." By Walter Leaf, Litt.D. 

SujDplementary Catalogue of the Edmund Gurney Library 

List of Members and Associates 

List of Members and Associates of the American Branch 


< c c e c c 

< C c < « ***■ «! # • c 




The 63rd General Meeting of the Society was held at the West- 
minster Town Hall on Friday, January 26th, at 3 p.m. ; the President, 
Mr. a. J. Balfour, in the chair. 

The President gave an address, printed below, on the relation of 
the work of the Society to the general course of modern scientific 

Mr. W. Leap read a paper by Mr. Andrew Lang, entitled " Cock 
Lane and Common Sense." 

The 64th General Meeting was held in the same place on Friday,, 
March 9th, at 8.30 p.m. ; Mr. Pearsall Smith in the chair. 

Mr. F. Podmore read a paper on "Recent Experiments in Thought- 
Transference at a distance." 

Mr. F. W. H. Myers addressed the meeting on the subject of the 
Automatic "Writings of Mr. Stainton Moses. The substance of his 
speech will be included in a paper to be published in a future number 
of the Proceedings. 

The 65th General Meeting was held in the same place on Friday, 
April 27th, at 4 p.m. ; Professor Sidgwick in the chair. 

Mr. Myers announced the foundation of a new Anglo-French 
Psychological Society, which he invited Members and Associates of 
the Society for Psychical Research to join. 

Mr. Myers then gave an address on " Retrocognition," which will 
appear in a future number of the Proceedings. 

The 66th General Meeting was held at the same place on Friday, 
June 8th, at 8.30 p.m. ; Professor Sidgwick in the chair. 

Professor Sidgwick announced that a legacy of £3,000 had been 
left by the late Dr. Myers to the President of the S.P.R. for the time 
being, in trust for the purposes of the Society. 

" Miss X." read a paper on " The Apparent Sources of Super- 
normal Experiences," which will be published in a future number of 
the Proceedings. 

Mr. Myers discussed " The Evidence for Continued Identity con- 
tained in Mr. Stainton Moses' Automatic Script," being a further part 
of his paper on the subject, to appear in a future number of the 



President's Address. 


The Right Hon. A. J. Balfour, M.P. 

Ladies and Gentlemen, — In accordance with precedent, I have to 
begin my observations to you by calling to your recollection the 
melancholy fact that since last there was a meeting of this Society 
we have lost two of our most important and most valued members. 
Less than a fortnight ago, Dr. Arthur Myers, a member of the Council, 
and not only a member of the Council, but one who ever since the 
inception of this Society has done admirable, and, indeed, invaluable 
work in conection with its labours, passed away. The loss which his 
friends have sustained by his death it would not be proper for me on 
such an occasion to dwell upon, — however much, as one of the oldest of 
those friends, whose friendship dated from Cambridge days, now twenty 
years ago, I might be tempted to do so. But it is strictly within the 
scope of my duties to remind you of the admirable aid which he has 
given to our investigations, of the untiring zeal which he has thrown 
into all the matters that came before him, of his self-sacrificing energy, 
and the liberality with which he spent in our service both time and 

We have lost another distinguished member of our body — not in this 
case one who was associated very closely with our work, but one, never- 
theless, who by the lustre of his name added dignity to our proceedings 
and who might, had his life been spared, have largely helped us, I 
believe, in experimental investigations — I allude to Professor Hertz, a 
corresponding member of our body. As those of you will know who 
have had the opportunity of following recent developments of physical 
science, he was the fortunate individual who demonstrated experi- 
mentally the identity of light and of certain electro-magnetic phe- 
nomena. This identity had been divined, and elaborated on the side 
of theory, by one of the greatest of English, I ought perhaps to say 
of Scotch, men of science, Clerk Maxwell, but it had never been 
conclusively proved until Professor Hertz, about five years ago, 
startled Europe by the experimental identification of these physical 
forces. The extraordinary interest and the far-reaching importance 
of a discovery like this will not perhaps be appreciated by every one 
of my audience, but all of those who take an interest in such subjects 
will see that by this stroke of expei-imental genius a very large stride 

President's Address. 


has been made towards establishing the unity of the great physical 
powers of nature. 

The mention of a great physical discovery like this, made by one 
of our own body, naturally suggests reflections as to our actual 
scientific position. What, we feel tempted to ask, is at the present 
time the relation of such results as we have arrived at to the general 
view which hitherto science has taken of that material universe in 
which we live ? I must confess that, when I call to mind the history 
of these relations in the past, the record is not one on which 
we can dwell with any great satisfaction. Consider, for example, 
the attitude maintained by the great body of scientific opinion, 
whether medical or physical, towards the phenomena which used 
to be known as mesmeric, but which have now been re-baptised, 
with Braid's term, as hypnotic. As most of you ai'e aware, it is 
very little more than a century since the public attention of Europe, 
and especially of certain parts of the continent, was called to 
these extraordinary phenomena by the discoveries— if I may call 
them discoveries, for, after all, they were known long before his time 
— of Mesmer. Mesmer produced hypnotic phenomena, which are now 
familiar to everybody, and, not content with that, he invented a 
theory to account for them. The theory is an extremely bad one, and 
I imagine, has fallen into the disrepute which it deserves ; for Mesmer 
committed the error, which has been repeated now and then since, of 
trying to find an explanation for strange and unaccountable facts by 
simply describing them as the effect of some equally strange and 
unaccountable cause. He declared that there was a kind of magnetic 
fluid to the operations of which the results that he obtained were 
due ; and he undoubtedly did his reputation much disservice in the 
minds of the scientific experts of the time by associating his discoveries 
with speculations which, after all, did not at the time stand, anc^ 
have not since stood, the test of critical investigation. Nevertheless, 
the facts that Mesmer brought forward could be proved in the last 
century, as they can be proved now, by experimental evidence of the most 
conclusive character. It can be shewn that they are neither the result 
of deliberate fraud nor unconscious deception, and, accordingly, there 
was here a problem presented for solution which it was plainly the 
duty of men of science in general, and, probably, of the medical pro- 
fession in particular, to examine and probe to the bottom ; to explain 
if they could, but not to explain away if they could not. Their actual 
course was a very different one. There were, indeed, a good many 
doctors and other men of science who could not refuse the evidence 
of their senses, and who loudly testified to the truth, the interest, 
and the importance of the phenomena which they witnessed. But if 
you take the body of opinion of men of science generally, you will be 

B 2 


President's Address. 

driven to the conclusion that they either denied facts which they ought 
to have seen were true, or that they thrust them aside without con- 
descending to consider them worthy of serious investigation. There 
were, I believe, no less than two or three Commissions of enquiry — - 
three, I think — instituted in France alone, one in Mesmer's lifetime, 
and the other two, unless my memory deceives me, after his death. 
The amount of evidence collected, at all events by one of those Com- 
missions, composed of some of the most eminent scientific men in 
France, should have been enough to call the attention of all Europe to 
the new problems thus raised. The report which embodied this 
evidence was, nevertheless, allowed to lie unnoticed upon the shelf ; 
and it has only been by a gradual process of re-discovery, a constant 
and up-hill light on the part of the less prejudiced members of the 
community, that the truths of hypnotism, as far as they are yet 
attained, have reached something like general recognition ; even now, 
perhaps, their full importance — whether from a therapeutic or a 
psychological point of view — has not been sufficiently acknow- 

What I have just very briefly and rudely sketched out to you is 
the history of an investigation into one small section of these alleged 
phenomena which fall outside the ordinary field of scientific investiga- 
tion. If we took it by itself we should say that scientific men have 
shown in connection with it a bigoted intolerance, an indifference to 
strictly scientific evidence, which is, on the face of it, discreditable. I, 
however, do not feel inclined to pass any verdict of so harsh a 
character upon the action of the great body of scientific men. I believe 
that, although the course they pursued was not one which it is very 
easy rationally to justify, nevertheless there was a great deal more, of 
practical wisdom in it than might appear at first sight. I have always 
been impressed by the lesson - taught us by the general course of 
history, that you cannot expect, either of any single nation or of any 
single age, that it will do more than the special work which happens, 
so to speak, to be set before it at the moment. You cannot expect 
men, being what they are, to labour effectively in more than one 
relatively restricted field at the same time ; and if they insist on 
diffusing their energies over too wide a surface, the necessary result, as 
I believe, will be that their labours will prove unfruitful. Now just 
consider what it is that men of science have done in the century which 
has elapsed since the first French Commission investigated Mesmer's 
discoveries. I do not believe it would be going too far to say that the 
whole body of the sciences, with the exception of mechanics, especially 
mechanics as applied to celestial motions — that the whole body of 
the sciences outside that limited sphei-e has been reconstructed from 
top to bottom. Our leading ideas in chemistry, our leading ideas in 

President's Address. 


physics, the theory of light, the theory of sound, the whole of geology, 
the great generalisation known as the conservation of energy, and all 
the speculations and extensions which have succeeded that great 
generalisation, the whole theory of natural selection and of biological 
evolution, are all the birth of the hundred years which have 
elapsed since first Mesmer made hypnotic phenomena notorious through 
Europe. I think if scientific men, looking back upon the past, choose 
to set up for themselves this defence, that after all only one thing can 
be done at a time, that they were occupied in co-ordinating within 
certain lines the experimental data then availaljle, and that, in harmony 
with a given conception of the material world, they were laying deep 
the foundations of that vast and imposing fabric of modern science, 
I for one should accept the plea as a bar to further proceedings. For 
the men who did that work could not have done it, I believe, unless 
they had rigidly confined themselves to one particular conception of 
the world with which they had to deal. If they had insisted on inclu- 
ding in their survey not merely the well-travelled regions of everyday 
experience, but the dark and doubtful territories within which our 
labours lie, their work would have been worse, not better ; less, not 
more complete. They may have been narrow ; but their narrowness 
has been our gain. They may have been prejudiced ; but their pre- 
judices have been fruitful, and we have reaped the harvest. I have 
often thought that when, on looking back over the history of human 
speculation, we find some individual who has anticipated the discoveries 
of a later age, but has neither himself been able to develop those dis- 
coveries nor yet to interest his contemporaries in them, we are very 
apt to bestow on him an undue meed of honour. "Here," we say, "was 
a man before his time. Here was a man of whom his age was not 
worthy." Yet such men do very little indeed for the progress of the 
world of which at first sight they would appear to be among the most 
distinguished citizens. There is no use in being befoi'e your age after 
such a fashion as this. If neither you nor those to whom you speak 
can make use of the message that you thus prematurely deliver, so far 
as the development of the world is concerned you might as well have 
not lived at all. When, therefore, we are asked to put our hands in 
our pockets and subscribe towards the erection of memorials to 
half forgotton worthies like these, by all means let us do it. It is 
natural and even praiseworthy. But do not let us suppose that those 
whom we thus honour really stand out among the benefactors of our 
species. They are interesting ; but hardly useful. 

This, however, is merely a parenthetical reflection, to which I do 
not ask your agreement, and which, after all, has nothing to do with 
the general drift of the argument that I desire to lay before you. The 
ijuestion I now wish vou to con;;ider is : Granting to men of science that 


President's Address. 

i/hey had, if not a theoretical and speculative excuse, still a practical 
justification, for the course they have adopted in regard to these obscure 
psychical phenomena during the last hundred years, is that justifiation 
still valid ? For myself, I think it is not. I think the time has now 
come when it is desirable in their own interests, and in our interests, 
that the leaders of scientific thought in this country and elsewhere 
should recognise that there are well-attested facts which, though they 
do not easily fit into the framework of the sciences, or of organised 
experience as they conceive it, yet require investigation and explana- 
tion, and which it is the bounden duty of science, if not itself to in- 
vestigate, at all events to assist us in investigating. 

I am, of course, aware that there are necessarily connected with 
our work diflicvilties and obstructions in the way of experiment 
with which scientific men are not familiar, and which not unnaturally 
rouse in their minds both dislike and suspicion. To begin with, there 
is the difficulty of fraud. The ordinary scientific man no doubt finds the 
path of experimental investigation strewn with difliculties, but at least 
he does not usually find among them the difliculty presented by human 
fraud. He knows that, if he is misled in any particular, it is the fault 
of the observer, and not the fault of the observed. He knows that, if 
his cross-examination of nature fails to elicit anything, it is because 
he has not known how to cross-examine, not because nature when put 
in the witness box tells untruths. But unfortunately in the matters 
with which we have to deal this is not the case. We have come 
across, and it is inevitable that we should come across, cases where 
either deliberate fraud or unconscious deception makes observation 
doubly and trebly difficult, and throws obstacles in the way of the 
investigator which his happier brother in the region of material and 
physical science has not to contend with. 

And there is yet another difficulty in our work from which those 
who cultivate physical science are happily free. They have, as the 
ultimate sources of their knowledge, the "five senses" with which we 
are all endowed, and whicli are the only generally recognised inlets 
through which the truth of external nature can penetrate into 
consciousness. But we of this Society have perforce to deal with cases 
in which not merely the normal five or six senses, but some abnormal 
and half-completed sense, so to speak, comes into play ; in which we 
have to work, not with the organisations of an ordinary and normal type, 
but with certain exceptional organisations who can neither explain^ 
account for, nor control the abnormal powers they appear to possess. 

This is not only a special difficulty with which we have to 
contend ; it is the basis of a serious objection, in the eyes of 
many scientific men, to the admission of the subject matter of our 
I'esearches into the sphere of legitimate investigation. These critics 

President's Address. 


seem to think that because we cannot repeat and verify our experi- 
ments as we will and when we will — because we cannot, as it were, put 
our phenomena in a retort and boil them over a spirit lamp and 
always get the same results — that therefore the phenomena themselves 
are not worth examining. But this is, I venture to say, a very 
unphilosophic view of the question. Is there, after all, any inherent 
a priori improbability in there being these half -formed and imperfectly 
developed senses, or inlets of external information, occasionally and 
sporadically developed in certain members of the human race ? Surely 
not. I should myself be disposed to say that if the theory of develop- 
ment be really sound, phenomena like these, however strange, are 
exactly what we should have expected. For what says the theory of 
natural selection 1 Why this, among other things : that there has 
gradually been elaborated by the slaughter of the unfit and the sur- 
vival of the fit, an organism possessed of senses adapted to further its 
success in the struggle for existence. To suppose that the senses 
elaborated in obedience to this law should be in correspondence with 
the whole of external nature, appears to me to be not only improbable 
but, on any rational doctrine of probability, absolutely impossible. 
There must be countless forms of being, countless real existences 
which, had the line of an evolution gone in a dilFerent direction, or 
had the necessities of our primitive ancestors been of a different kind, 
would have made themselves known to us through senses the very 
character of which we are at present unable to imagine. And, if this be 
so, is it not in itself likely that here and there we should come across 
rudimentary beginnings of such senses ; beginnings never developed 
and probably never to be developed by the operation of selection ; 
mere by-products of the great evolutionary machine, never destined to 
be turned to any useful account 1 And it may be — I am only hazard- 
ing an unverifiable guess — it may be, I say, that in these cases of the 
individuals thus abnormally endowed, we really have come across 
faculties which, had it been worth Nature's while, had they been of 
any value or purpose in the struggle for existence, might have been 
normally developed, and thus become the common possession of the 
whole human race. Had this occurred, we should have been enabled 
to experiment upon phenomena, which we now regard as occult and 
mysterious, with the same confidence in the sources of our information 
that we now enjoy in any of our ordinary enquiries into the laws of the 
material world. Well, if there be, as I think, no great antecedent im- 
probability against there being these occasional and sporadic modifica- 
tions of the organism, I do not think that men of science ought to 
show any distrustful impatience of the apparent irregularity of these 
abnormal phenomena which is no doubt one of their most provoking 


President's Address. 

But there is another and a real difficulty, from the point of view 
of science, attaching to the result of our investigations, which is not 
disposed of by the theory which I have suggested of imperfectly 
developed senses. Such senses, if they exist at all, may evidently be 
of two kinds, or may give us two kinds of experience. They may 
give us a kind of experience which shall be in perfect harmony with 
our existing conception of the physical universe, or they may give us 
one which harmonises with that conception imperfectly or not at all. 
As an example of the first I might revert to the discovery, previously 
referred to, of Professor Hertz. He, as I have already told you, has 
experimentally proved that electro-magnetic phenomena are identical, 
as physical phenomena, with ordinary light. Light consists, as you 
all know, of undulations of what is known as the luminiferous ether ; 
well, electro-magnetic waves are also undulations of the same ether, 
differing from the undulations which we call light only in their 
length. Now it is easy to conceive that we might have had a sense 
which would have enabled us to perceive the long undulations in the 
same way as we now perceive the short ones. That would be a new 
sense, but, though new, its deliverances would have fitted in with the 
existing notions which scientific men have framed of the universe. 
But unfortunately in our special investigations we seem to come across 
experiences which are not so amenable. We apparently get hints of 
the existence of facts, which, if they be well established, as they 
appear to be, cannot, so far as I can judge, by any amount of 
squeezing or manipulation be made to fit into the interstices of our 
accepted view of the physical world ; and, if that be so, then we are 
engaged in a work of prodigious difficulty indeed, but of an 
importance of which the difficulty is only a measure and an indicator. 
For we should then be actually on the threshold, so to speak, of 
a region ordered according to laws of which we have at pi-esent 
no cognisance, and which do not appear to harmonise — I do not 
say they are in contradiction to, but at least they do not appear 
to harmonise — with those which govern the regions already within 
our ken. 

Let me dwell on this point a little more, as it is one of central 
interest to all who are engaged in our special investigations. 
What I am asserting is that the facts which we come across are very 
odd facts, and by that I do not mean merely queer and unexpected : I 
mean " odd " in the sense that they are out of harmony with the 
accepted theories of the material world. They are not merely dramatic- 
ally strange, they are not merely extraordinary and striking, but they are 
" odd " in the sense that they will not easily fit in with the views which 
physicists and men of science generally give us of the universe in 
which we live. 

President's Address. 


In order to illustrate this distinction I will take a very siruple 
instance. I suppose everybody would say that it would be an extra- 
ordinary circumstance if at no distant date this earth on which we 
dwell were to come into collision with some unknown body travelling 
through space, and, as the result of that collision, be resolved into the 
original gases of which it is composed. Yet, though it would be an 
extraordinary, and even an amazing, event, it is, after all, one of which 
no astronomer, I venture to say, would assert the impossibility. He 
would say, I suppose, that it was most unlikely, but that if it occurred 
it would not violate, or even modify, his general theories as to the laws 
which govern the movements of the celestial bodies. Our globe is a 
member of the solar system which is travelling I do not know how 
many miles a second in the direction of the constellation Hercules. 
There is no a priori ground for saying that in the course of that 
mysterious journey, of the cause of which we are perfectly ignorant, 
we shall not come across some body in interstellar space which will 
produce the uncomfortable results which I have ventured to indicate. 
And, as a matter of fact, in the course of the last two hundred years, 
astronomers have themselves been witness to stellar tragedies of incom- 
parably greater magnitude than that which would be produced by the 
destruction of so insignificant a planet as the world in which we happen 
to be personally interested. We have seen stars which shine from an 
unknown distance, and are of unknown magnitude, burst into sudden 
conflagration, blaze brightly for a time, and then slowly die out again. 
What that phenomenon precisely indicates, of course, we cannot say, 
but it certainly indicates an accident of a far more startling and 
tremendous kind than the shattering of our particular world, which to 
us would, doubtless, seem exti'aordinary enough. 

This, then, is a specimen of what I mean by a dramatically extra- 
ordinary event. Now I will give you a case of what I mean by a 
scientifically extraordinary event, which as you will at once perceive 
may be one which at first sight, and to many observers, may appear 
almost common-place and familiar. I have constantly met people who 
will tell you, with no apparent consciousness that they are saying 
anything more out of the way than an observation about the weather, 
that by the exercise of their will they can make anybody at a little 
distance turn round and look at them. Now such a fact (if fact it be) 
is far more scientifically extraordinary than would be the destruction 
of this globe by some such celestial catastrophe as I have imagined. 
How profoundly mistaken, then, are they who think that this 
exercise of will power, as they call it, is the most natural and most 
normal thing in the world, something that everybody would have 
expected, something which hardly deserves scientific notice or requires 
scientific explanation. In reality it is a profound mystery if it be true. 


President's Address. 

or if anything like it be true ; and no event, however startling, which 
easily finds its appropriate niche in the structure of the physical 
sciences ought to excite half so much intellectual cui'iosity as this dull 
and at first sight common-place phenomenon. 

Now do not suppose that I want you to believe that every gentle- 
man or lady who chooses to suppose him or herself exceptionally 
endowed with this so-called will-power is other than the dupe of an 
ill-regulated fancy. There is, however, quite apart from the testimony 
of such persons a vast mass of evidence in favour of what we now call 
telepathy ; and to telepathy the observations I have been making do in 
my opinion most strictly apply. For, consider ! In every case of 
telepathy you have an example of action at a distance. Examples of 
real or apparent action at a distance are of course very common. 
Gravitation is such an example. We are not aware at the present 
time of any mechanism, if I may use the phrase, which can transmit 
gravitational influence from one gravitating body to another. Never- 
theless, scientific men do not rest content with that view. I recollect 
it used be maintained by the late Mr. John Mill that there was no 
ground for regarding with any special wonder the phenomenon of 
action at a distance. I do not dogmatise upon the point, but I do say 
emphatically that I do not think you will find a first-rate physicist 
who is prepared to admit that gravity is not a phenomenon which stid 
wants an explanation. He is not I'eady, in other words, to accept 
action at a distance as an ultimate fact, though he has not even got the 
first clue to the real nature of the links by which the attracting bodies 
mutually act upon one another. 

But though gravitation and telepathy are alike in this, that we are 
quite ignorant of the means by which in either case distant bodies in- 
fluence one another, it would be a great mistake to suppose that the 
two modes of operation are equally mysterious. In the case of tele- 
pathy there is not merely the difficulty of conjecturing the nature of 
the mechanism which operates between the agent and the patient, 
between the man who influences and the man who is influenced ; but 
the whole character of the phenomena refuses to fit in with any of our 
accepted ideas as to the mode in which force may be exercised from 
one portion of space to another. Is this telepathic action an ordinary 
case of action from a centre of disturbance 1 Is it equally diffused in 
all directions ? Is it like the light of a candle or the light of the sun 
which radiates equally into space in every direction at the same time 1 
If it is, it must obey the law — at least, we should expect it to obey the 
law — of all other forces which so act through a non-absorbing medium, 
and its effects must diminish inversely as the square of the distance. 
It must, so to speak, get beaten out thinner and thinner the further 
it gets removed from its original source. But is this so? Is it even 

President's Address. 


credible that the mere thoughts, or, if you please, the neural changes 
corresponding to these thoughts, of any individual could have in them 
the energy to produce sensible effects equally in all directions, for 
distances which do not, as far as our investigations go, appear to have 
any necessary limit ? It is, I think, incredible ; and in any case there 
is no evidence whatever that this equal diffusion actually takes place. 
The will power, whenever will is used, or the thoughts, in cases where 
will is not used, have an effect, as a rule, only upon one or two 
individuals at most. There is no appearance of general diffusion. 
There is no indication of any disturbance equal at equal distances from 
its origin, and radiating from it alike in every direction. 

But if we are to reject this idea, which is the first which ordinary 
analogies would suggest, what are we to put in its place ? Are we to 
suppose that there is some means by which telepathic energy can be 
directed through space from the agent to the patient, from the man 
who influences to the man who is influenced ? If we are to believe this, 
as apparently we must, we are face to face not only with a fact extra- 
ordinary in itself, but with a kind of fact which does not flt in with 
anything we know at present in the region either of physics or of 
physiology. It is true, no doubt, that we do know plenty of cases 
where energy is directed along a given line, like water in a pipe, or 
like electrical energy along the course of a wire. But then in such 
cases there is always some material guide existing between the two 
termini, between the place from which the energy comes and the 
place to which the energy goes. Is there any such material guide in the 
case of telepathy 1 It seems absokxtely impossible. There is no sign 
of it. We cannot even form to ourselves any notion of its character, 
and yet, if we are to take what appears to be the obvious lesson of 
the observed facts, we are forced to the conclusion that in some 
shape or other it exists. For to suppose that the telepathic agent 
shoots out his influence towards a particular object, as you shoot a 
bullet out of a gun, or water out of a hose, which appears to be the 
only other alternative, involves us seemingly in greater difficulties 

Here then we are face to face with what I call a scientifically 
extraordinary phenomenon, as distinguished from a dramatically extra- 
ordinary one. Anyone who has endeavoured to wade through the 
mass of evidence collected by our Society on the suljject will be 
prepared to admit that it is not exciting or interesting in itself, that it 
does not arouse a foolish wonder, or appeal unduly to any craving for the 
marvellous. But dull as these experiments may seem, dull indeed as 
they often are, their dullness is really one of their great advantages. It 
effectually excludes some perturbing influences that might otherwise 
affect, or, which is nearly as bad, be supposed to affect, the cool 


President's Address. 

analysis of the experimental data ; and in consequence, it makes these 
investigations, in my judgment, the best starting point from which to 
reconsider, should it be necessary, our general view, I will not say 
of the material universe, but of the universe of phenomena in space 
and time. 

I am, of coui'se, aware that probably a very large number, perhaps 
the majority, of the members of this Society are accustomed to consider 
the subjects with which we deal from a somewhat different point of 
view from that which I have adopted this afternoon, and it is well that 
this should be so. All arbitraiy limitations of our sphere of work are 
to be avoided. It is our business to record, to investigate, to classify, 
and, if possible, to explain, facts of a far more startling and impressive 
character than these modest cases of telepathy. Let us not neglect 
that business. And if beyond the mere desire to increase knowledge 
many are animated by a wish to get evidence, not through any process 
of laborious deduction, but by direct observation, of the reality of 
intelligences not endowed with a physical organisation like our own, I 
see nothing in their action to criticise, much less to condemn. But 
while there is sufficient evidence, in my judgment, to justify all the 
labours of our Society in this field of research, it is not the field of 
research which lies closest to the oi'dinary subjects of scientific 
study, and, therefore, this afternoon, when I was led to deal rather 
with the scientific aspects of our work, I have deliberately kept myself 
within the range of the somewhat ixnpicturesque phenomena of tele- 
pathy. My object has been a very simple one, as I am desirous 
above all things of enlisting in our service the best experimental 
and scientific ability which we can command. I have thought 
it best to endeavour to arrest the attention, and, if possible, to 
engage the interest of men of science by pointing to the definite aaid 
very simple experiments which, simple as they are, yet hint at conclu- 
sions not easily to be accommodated with our habitual theories of 
things. If we can repeat these experiments sufficiently often and 
under tests sufficiently crucial to exclude the possibility of ei'ror, it will 
be impossible any longer to ignore them, and, willingly or unwillingly, 
all interested in science will be driven to help, as far as they can, to 
unravel the refractoiy class of problems which this Society is endeavour- 
ins to solve. What success such elforts will be crowned with, I know 
not. I have already indicated to you, at the beginning of my remarks, 
the special class of difficulties which beset our path. We have not at 
our command the appropriate physical senses, we have not the appro- 
priate materials for experiment, we are hampered and embarrassed in 
every direction by credulity, by fraud, by prejudice. Nevertheless, if I 
rightly interpret the results which these many years of labour have 
forced upon the members of this Society and upon others not among 

President's Address. 


our number who are associated by a similar spirit, it does seem to me 
that there is at least strong ground for supposing that outside the 
world, as we have, from the point of science, been in the habit of con- 
ceiving it, there does lie a region, not open indeed to experimental 
observation in the same way as the more familiar regions of the 
material world are open to it, but still with regard to which some 
experimental information may be laboriously gleaned ; and even if we 
cannot entertain any confident hope of discovering what laws these 
half-seen phenomena obey, at all events it will be some gain to have 
shown, not as a matter of speculation or conjecture, but as a matter 
of ascertained fact, that there are things in heaven and earth not 
hitherto dreamed of in our scientific philosophy. (Cheers.) 


Professor 0. J. Lodge. 



By Oliver Lodge, F.R.S. 

It has long been known that in order to achieve remarkable results 
in any department of intellectual activity, the mind must be to some 
extent unaware of passing occurrences. To be keenly awake and " on 
the spot " is a highly valued accomplishment, and for the ordinary 
purposes of mundane affairs is a far more useful state of mind than the 
rather hazy and absorbed condition which is associated with the quality 
of mind called genius ; but it is not as effective for brilliant achieve- 

When a poet or musician or mathematician feels himself inspired, 
his senses are, I suppose, dulled or half asleep ; and though probably 
some part of his brain is in a great state of activity, I am not aware 
of any experiments directed to test which that part is, nor whether, 
when in that state, any of the more ordinarily used portions are really 
dormant or no. It would be interesting, but difficult, to ascertain the 
precise physiological accompaniments of that which on a small scale is 
called a brown study, and on a larger scale a period of inspiration. 

It does not seem unreasonable to suppose that the state is some- 
what allied to the initial condition of anfesthesia — the somnambulic 
condition when, though the automatic processes of the body go on 
with greater perfection than usual, the conscious or noticing aspect of 
the mind is latent, so that the things which influence the person are 
apparently no longer the ordinary events which affect his peripheral 
organs, but either something internal or else something not belonging 
to the ordinarily known physical universe at all. 

The mind is always in a receptive state perhaps, but whereas the 
business-like, wide-awake person receives impressions from every trivial 
detail of his physical surroundings, the half-asleep person seems to 
receive impressions from a diffei'ent stratum altogether ; higher in 
some instances, lower in some instances, but different always from 
those received by ordinary men in their every-day state. 

In a man of genius the state comes on of itself and the results are 
astounding. There exist occasionally feeble persons, usually young, 
who seek to attain to the appearance of genius by the easy process 

On the Difficulty of Making Crucial Experiments, &c. 15 

of assuming or encodragmg" an" attitude of vacanty and uselessness. 
There may be all grades of result attained while in this state, and the 
state itself is of less than no value unless it is justified by the results. 

By experiment and observation it has now been established that a 
state very similar to this can be induced by artificial means, e.g., by 
drugs, by hypnosis, by crystal gazing, by purposed inattention ; and 
also that the state can occur occasionally without provocation during 
sleep and during trance. 

All these states seem to some extent allied, and, as is well known, 
Mr. Myers has elaborated their relationship in his series of articles on 
the subliminal consciousness. 

Well now, the question arises, What is the source of the intelli- 
gence manifested during epochs of clairvoyant lucidity, as sometimes 
experienced in the hypnotic or the somnambulic state or during trance, 
or displayed automatically 1 

The most striking cases of which I am now immediately or 
mediately cognisant, are the trance state of Mrs. Piper and the auto- 
matism of such writers as the wife of the late Rev. P. H. Newnham.^ 
Without any apparent lulling of attention at all I am experimentally 
assured of the possibility of conveying information between one mind 
and another without the aid of ordinary sense organs ; but the cases 
mentioned are especially striking and will serve to narrow the field to 
what, after all, may be considered at present the main points. 

Mrs. Piper in the trance state is undoubtedly ( I use the word in 
the strongest sense ; I have absolutely no more doubt on the subject 
than I have of any friend's ordinary knowledge of me and other men), 
— -Mrs. Piper's trance personality is undoubtedly aware of much to 
which she has no kind of ordinarily recognised clue, and of which 
in her ordinary state she knows nothing. But how does she get 
this knowledge 1 She herself when in the trance state asserts that 
she gets it by conversing with the deceased friends and relatives of 
people present. And that this is a genuine opinion of hers, i.e., that 
the process feels like that to her unconscious or subconscious mind, the 
part of her which calls itself Phinuit, I am fully prepared to believe. 
But that does not carry us very far towards a knowledge of what the 
process actually is. 

Conversation implies speaking with the mouth, and when receiving 
or asking information she is momentarily in a deeper slumber, and 
certainly not occupied in speech. At times, indeed, slight mutterings of 
one-sided questions and replies are heard, very like the mutterings of a 
person in sleep undergoing a vivid dream. 

Dream is certainly the ordinaiy person's nearest approach to the 

1 Phantasms of the Living, Vol. I. p. 63. 

16 ^ Professor 0. J. Lodge. 

Phinuit condition, And ' the fading of x'ecollection as the conscious 
memory returns is also paralleled by the waking of Mrs. Piper out of 
the trance. But, instead of a nearly passive dream, it is more 
nearly allied to the somnambulic state, though the activity, far from 
being chiefly locomotory, is mainly mental and only partially muscular. 

She is in a state of somnambulism in which the mind is more active 
than the body ; and the activity is so different from her ordinary 
activity, she is so distinctly a different sort of person, that she quite 
appropriately calls herself by another name. 

It is natural to ask, Is she still herself 1 but it is a question difficult 
to answer, unless "herself" be defined. It is her mouth that is 
speaking, and I suppose her brain and nerves are working the oral 
muscleSj but they are not worked in the customary way, nor does the 
mind manifested thereby at all resemble her mind. Until, however, 
the meaning of identity can be accurately specified, I find it difficult 
to discuss the question whether she or another person is really 

On this point the waking experience of Mrs. Newnham and of 
other automatic writers is of assistance. 

In their case the mouth does not speak, but the hand writes ; and 
it writes matter not in the writer's mind and which he does not feel 
that he is writing. His hand is writing and he is in some cases 
taking the attention of his own conscious mind away from his hand and 
letting it be guided by his subconscious or by some other mind. 

The instructive feature about tliis phenomenon is that the minds 
apparently influencing the hand are not so much those of dead as of living 
people. The great advantage of this is that they can be catechised 
afterwards about their share in the transaction ; and it then appears 
that although the communication purporting to be from them really 
does convey what they were doing or thinking, in fact what they might 
have written, yet actually they know nothing about the writing, 
neither the muscular fact nor the intelligent substance. It does not do 
to jump to the conclusion that this will always be the case ; that the 
connection is never consciously i-eciprocal, as when two persons are 
talking ; but it shows that at any rate it need not be so. Since the 
living communicant is not aware of the fact that he is dictating 
the handwriting, so the dead person need not be consciously opera- 
tive ; and thus conceivably the hand of the automatist may be 
influenced by minds other than his own, minds both living and dead 
(by one apparently as readily as by the other), but not by a con- 
scious portion of the mind of anyone ; by the subconscious or dreamy 
portion, if by any portion at all. 

When Phinuit then, or Mrs. Piper in the trance state, reports con- 
versations which she has had with other minds (usually in Phinuit's 

On the Difficulty of Makitig Crucial Experiments, &c. 17 

case with persons deceased), and even when the voice changes and 
messages come apparently from those very people themselves, it does 
not follow that they themselves are necessarily aware of the fact, nor 
need their conscious mind (if they have any) have anything whatever 
to do with the process. 

The signature of an automatist's hand is equivalent to the asser- 
tion that Miss X., for instance, is deliberately writing ; Phinuit's 
statement is equally an assertion that Mr. E. is deliberately speaking ; 
and the one statement may be no more a lie than the other is a 
forgery, and yet neither need be what is ordinarily called " true." 

That this community of mind or possibility of distant interchange 
or one-sided reception of thoughts exists, is to me perfectly clear and 
certain. I venture further to say that persons who deny the bare fact, 
expressed as I here wish to express it without any hypothesis, are 
simply ignorant. They have not studied the facts of the subject. It 
may be for lack of opportunity, it may be for lack of inclination ; they 
are by no means bound to investigate it unless they choose ; but any 
dogmatic denials which such persons may now perpetrate will hence- 
forth, or in the very near future, redound to the discredit, not of the 
phenomena thus ignorantly denied, but of themselves, the ovei'- 
confident and presumptuous deniers. 

We must not too readily assume that the apparent action of one 
mind on another is really such an action. The impression received 
may come from the ostensible agent, but it may come from a third 
person ; or again it 7nay, as some think more likely, come from some 
central mind or Zeitgeist, to which all ordinary minds are related and 
by which they are influenced. If it could be shown that the action is 
a syntonic or sympathetic connection between a pair of minds, then it 
might be surmised that the action is a physical one, properly to be 
expressed as occurring directly between brain and brain, or body and 
body. On the other hand, the action may conceivably be purely 
psychological, and the distant brain may be stimulated not by the 
intervention of anything physical or material but in some more 
immediate manner, irom its psychological instead of from its physio- 
logical side. 

The question is quite a definite one if properly expressed ; Does 
the action take place through a physical medium or does it not ? 

Guesses at a priori likelihood are absolutely worthless ; if the 
question is to be answered it must be attacked experimentally. 

Now the ordinary way in which A communicates with B is through 
a certain physical mechanism, and the thought of A may be said to 
exist for a finite time as an etherial or aerial quiver before it repro- 
duces a similar thought in the mind of B. We have got so accus 
tomed to the existence of this intermediate physical process that 



Professor 0, J. Lodge. 

instead of striking us as roundabout and puzzling it appeals to us as 
natural and simple ; and any more direct action of A on B, without a 
physical mechanism, is scouted as absurd or at least violently impro- 
bable. Well, it is merely a question of fact, and perhaps it is within 
the range of a crucial experiment. 

But it may be at once admitted that such an experiment is difficult 
of execution. If the effect is a physical one it should vary according 
to some law of distance, or it should depend on the nature of the 
intervening medium ; but in order to test whether in any given case 
such variation occurs it is necessary to have both agent and percipient 
in an unusually dependable condition, and they should if possible be 
unaware of the variation which is under test. 

This last condition is desirable because of the sensitiveness of the 
sub-consciousness to suggestion : self-suggestion and other. If the per- 
cipient got an idea that distance or interposed screens were detrimental, 
most likely they would be detrimental ; and although a suggestion might 
be artificially instilled that distance was advantageous, this would hardly 
leave the test quite fair, for the lessened physical stimulus might pei'haps 
be over-utilised by the more keenly excited organism. Still that is an 
experiment to be tried among others ; and it would be an instructive 
experience if the agent some day was, say, in India when the per- 
cipient thought he was in London, or vice versa. 

It is extremely desirable to probe this question of a physical or 
non-physical mode of communication in cases of telepathy, and if the 
fact can be established beyond doubt that sympathetic communication 
occurs between places as distant as India or America and England, or, 
say, the terrestrial antipodes, being unfelt between, or in the neigh- 
bourhood of the source, then I should feel that this was so unlike what 
we are accustomed to in Physics that I should be strongly urged to 
look to some other and more direct kind of mental relationship as the 

This, then, is the first question on which crucial experiments are 
desirable though difiicult. 

(1) Is the mechanism of telepathy physical or not 1 

The second question of which I am thinking is one less easy to state 
and far less easy (as I think) to resolve. It may be stated thus, in 
two parts, or as two separate questions : — 

(2) Is the power of operating on the minds of terrestrial persons 
confined to living terrestrial people 1 

(3) Is the power of operating on or interfering with the rest of the 
physical universe confined to living material bodies? 

I should conjecture that an affirmative answer to Question 1 would 
render likely an affirmative answer to Questions 2 and 3 ; but that a 
negative answer to Question 1 would leave 2 and 3 entirely open, 

On the Difficidty of Making Cr ucial Experiments, etc. 19 

l)ecause, so far as we at present know, terrestrial people and people with 
material bodies may be the only people who exist. 

It is this possibility, or, as many would hold, probability or almost 
certainty, that renders the strict scientific statement of Questions 
2 and 3 so difficult. Yet they are questions which must be faced, and 
they ought to be susceptible in time of receiving definite answers. 

That there are living terrestrial people we know, we also know that 
there is an immense variety of other terrestrial life ; though, if we were 
not so familiar with the fact, the luxuriant prevalence and variety 
of life would be surprising. The existence of a bat, for instance, or a 
lobster would be quite incredible. Whether there is life on other 
planets we do not know, and whether there is conscious existence 
between the planets we do not know • but I see no a priori reason for 
making scientific assertions on the subject one way or the othei*. It 
is only at present a matter of probability. J ust because we know that 
the earth is peopled with an immense variety of living beings, I 
myself should rather expect to find other regions many-peopled, and 
with a still more extraordinary variety. So also since mental action is 
conspicuous on the earth I should expect to find it existent elsewhere. 
If life is necessarily associated with a material carcase then no doubt 
the surface of one of the many lumps of matter must be the scene 
of its activity ; but if any kind of mental action is independent of 
material or physical environment then it may conceivably be that the 
psychical population is not limited to the material lumps, but may 
luxuriate either in the interstellar spaces or in some undimensional 
form of existence of which we have no conception. 

Were it not for the fact of telepathy the entire question would be 
an idle one, a speculation based on nothing and apparently incapable 
of examination, still less of verification or disproof. 

But granted the fact of telepathy the question ceases to be an idle 
one, because it is just possible that these other intelligences, if they in 
any sense exist, may be able to communicate with us by the same sort 
of process as that by which we are now learning to be able to commu- 
nicate with each other. 

Whether it be true or not, it has been constantly and vehemently 
asserted as a fact that such communications, mainly from deceased 
relatives, but often also from strangers, are occasionally received by 
living persons. 

The utterances of Phinuit, the handwriting of Miss A., Mr. 
Stainton Moses, and others, abound with communications purporting 
to come from minds not now associated with terrestrial matter. 

Very well then ; is a crucial or test experiment possible to settle 
whether this claim is well founded or not 1 

Mere sentimental messages, conveying personal traits of the 

c 2 

20 ' Professor 0. J. Lodge. 

deceased, though frequently convincing to surviving friends, cannot 
be allowed much scientific weight. Something more definite or 
generally intelligible must be sought. 

Of such facts the handwriting of the deceased person, if reproduced 
accurately by an automatist who has never seen that handwriting, seems 
an exceptionally good test if it can be obtained. But the negative proof 
of ignorance on the part of the writer may be diSicult. 

At first sight facts known to the deceased but not known to the 
automatist, if reported in a correct and detailed manner so as to 
sui-pass mere coincidence, would seem a satisfactory test, but here 
telepathy, Avhich has stood us in good stead so far, begins to 
operate the other way ; for if the facts are known to nobody on earth 
they cannot perhaps be verified, and if they are known to somebody 
still alive — however distant he may be — it is necessary to assume 
it possible that they were unconsciously telepathed from his mind. 

But a certain class of facts may be verified without the assistance 
or knowledge of any living person, as Avhen a miser haAang died with 
the sole clue to a deposit of " valuables," an automatist's hand, over 
the miser's signature, subsequently describes the place; or when 
a sealed document, carefully deposited, is posthumously deciphered ; 
the test in either of these cases is a better one. But still, living 
telepathy of a deferred kind is not excluded (though to my thinking it 
is rendered extremely improbable), for, as Mr. Podmore has often 
urged, the person writing the document or burying the treasure 
may have been ijyso facto an unconscious agent on the minds of 

Postponement of the apparently posthumous action for more than a 
century, so that all contemporaries are necessarily dead, strains this 
sort of telepathic explanation still more — in fact to breaking point; but 
such an event is hardly within the reach of purposed experiment : the 
other is ; and responsible people ought to write and deposit specific 
documents, for the purpose of posthumously communicating them to 
someone if they can, taking all reasonable precautions against fraud and 
collusion ; and also, which is perhaps a considerable demand, taking 
care that they do not forget the contents themselves. 

But after all, even if this were successfully achieved, the proof 
to us of mental action on the part of the deceased "agent" is still 
incomplete, for it may be that telepathy is not the right kind of 
explanation of these things at all ; it may be that they are done 
by clairvoyance ; that the document, though still sealed or enclosed 
in metal, is read in some unknown or fourth-dimensional manner by 
the subliminal self. 

The existence of such a power as this, however, can be separately 
tested, because, if straightforward clairvoyance is possible, things un- 

On the Difficulty of Mahing Crucial Experiments, &c. 21 

known to any person living or dead may be read or inspected. And in 
trying this expei'imcnt a negative conclusion must not be jumped at 
too readily. A positive answer might be definite enough ; a negative 
answer can only be a probability. Moreover, it would be wise not to 
tell an automatist who is endeavouring to decipher the unknown 
figures that in that collocation they have never been inspected by 
man, lest the knowledge should act as a gratuitously hostile or debili- 
tating suggestion. 

As to the third question I must defer its consideration, as this 
paper is too long. I pass to a fourth : — 

(4) Is it possible to become aware of events before they have 
occurred ? 

The anticipation of future events is a power not at all necessarily 
to be expected on a Spiritistic or any other hypothesis ; it is a 
separate question and will have important bearings of its own. An 
answer to this Question 4 in the affirmative would vitally affect our 
metaphysical notions of " Time," but they will not of necessity have an 
immediate bearing on the existence in the universe of intelligences 
other than our own. A cosmic picture gallery (as Mr. Myers calls it), 
or photographic or phonographic record of all that has occurred or will 
occur in the universe, may conceivably in some sense exist, and may be 
partly open and dimly decipherable to the lucid part of the automatist's 
or entranced person's mind. 

But the question for us now is whether we can obtain clear and 
unmistakable proof of the existence of this foreseeing power in any 
form. It is not an easy thing to establish beyond any kind of doubt. 
Casual and irresponsible critics (like Mr. Taylor Innes in the Nineteenth 
Century) frequently urge that documentary evidence, such as a post- 
mark on a letter which detailed an event either not yet happened or 
certainly not known by ordinary methods at the date of the postmark 
(like a recent shipwreck in mid-ocean for instance), would be proof 
positive to them of something occult. Mr. Innes goes so far 
as to say that a document thus officially verified by a Post Office 
clerk would be worth thousands of pounds to the British Museum. 
If so it would be singularly easy to get rich. I believe that a postmark 
on an envelope would satisfy some of these critics, but a postmark on 
the document itself would be entirely convincing. 

I wonder some enterprising Pigott has not endeavoured to gull a 
leading journal by an elaborate account, say, of the Victoria disaster, 
or the Santander explosion, written on foolscap paper transmitted blank 
through the post, at small cost, in preparation for any such striking 
event ; or perhaps on paper subsequently covered with previous post- 
marks by a genial Post Office friend, and decorated with red tape by a 
live Government clerk ! ' 


Pro'^essor 0. J. Lodge. 

The feeling that everything done by a Post Office official is conclu- 
sive is of the same order as the opinion that barristers or criminal 
judges or medical practitioners are the only people fit to investigate 
unusual mental phenomena, because their practice makes them familiar 
with the warpings of the human mind. 

But to consider the case of a medical practitioner ; as I understand 
a doctor's business, it is to cure an abnormality if he can, not to pro- 
long and investigate it. True, a doctor may be a scientific man in ad- 
dition, but qua physician he is out of his element as a general investi- 
gator, and as a leading practitioner he has very little spare time. Were 
it not so, the record against the profession — the attitude the main body 
of doctors has taken to everything new — would be not only pitiful, as 
it is, but essentially disgraceful. 

To this day I feel sure that many promising subjects, some for in- 
vestigation and some for psychical cure, are being lost both to science 
and to themselves within the walls of our asylums. 

But about this question of postmarks. Let it not be thought that 
I claim that their evidence is worthless. As evidence subsidiary to 
testimony they may be very valuable, and every effort should be made 
to get them ; my contention only is that they do not dispense with 

This I hold is the function of all circumstantial evidence, or of any 
automatic record ; it lessens the chance of self-delusion or over-exuberant 
imagination, it can never can be held to guard against fraud. 

If a couple of friends by interchanging letters, with their dates 
verified in some cold blooded official manner, are able to establish 
foreknowledge of events such as could liardly be guessed or inferred, 
then their testimony is strengthened by the date marks to this extent : — 
Either the things happened as they say, or they are in some sort 
of collusion to bear false witness and deceive. One could only grant 
them the loophole of self-deception on the alternative of something 
very like insanity. 

That is how these automatic records, photographs and the like, may 
be so valualile — as supplementary to human testimony — never as sub- 
stitutes for it. 

A word before concluding as to Question 3, whether direct mental 
action can ever physically aSfect matter. 

Conspicuously it can affect and move some matter, viz., the matter 
forming part of a living organism ; but is it possible to move dead or 
inorganic matter without contact, direct or indirect, between our 
bodies and it ; that is, in short, without any recognised medium of con- 
nection or known method of action ? 

Can an entranced or any other person raise a chair or table with- 
out pressing it up and without conjuring ? 

On the Difficulty of Making Crucial Experiments, dx. 23 

Assertions that such events publicly occur are innumerable, and 
the recognised possible explanation, after fraud and imposture are 
eliminated (not by any means an easy matter), is collective hallucina- 
tion or collective hypnotism by the operator. This is supposed to be 
guarded against by photography. If a person with a camera could 
photogi'aph the table while in the air with nobody touching it, or 
with only a few persons standing free and holding their fingers down- 
wards to it, a sceptic would be satisfied. But ought he to be 
satisfied 1 

A crucial experiment is seldom so easy as that; True, one is not 
likely to be able to hypnotise a photographic plate, but if a company 
can be hallucinated so as to see the table rise where it does not rise, 
they can likewise be hypnotised not to see the operator place con- 
venient plate-glass supports under the table legs just before the photo- 
graphic gentleman is ready to begin. 

[Photographs of a table in the open air and off the ground without 
visible means of support were here shown.] 

So also with Indian jugglery. If the audience cannot be trusted 
to perceive what they see (and I by no means say that they can), 
neither can the bald record of the camera be trusted, with all ante- 
cedent cii'cumstances omitted or at best given in patches. 

Of all the many defects of observation, that of lapsed attention is 
one to which the camera is pre-eminently subject. A camera simply 
cannot look continuously, at the best it can only take a series of 
tableaux vivants, and for all the intervening acts we are dependent on 

A crucial experiment in this case also is difficult, and for myself I 
would prefer to trust my own observation rather than any amount of 
second-hand testimony, fortified by the assurance of any number of 

I do not say, therefore, that photographic records are useless : as 
supplementary evidence they may be highly valuable and they should 
always be obtained when possible. All these experiments should be 
tried, and their concurrent evidence may do much, though their in- 
dividual cogency is incomplete. 

So also it may be desirable to get a phonographic record of the 
speech of a ghost, if it can be done. But (even eliminating fraud) 
there would be nothing crucial about it, unless one can be sure that the 
ghost-seer has not in a somnambulic state spoken the necessary words 
into the instrument itself. 

Meanwhile, it seems to me probable that in this department of 
science, as in every other, the wholesome and valuable part of scep- 
ticism will ultimately be broken down, if at all, not by any one conclu- 
sive experiment, but by converging lines of testimony coming in from 


Professor 0. J. Lodge. 

many and unexpected quarters ; and the breach will be assisted by the 
gradual perception that such psychical actions as are pi'oved to occur are 
not portents or ruptures in the order of nature but are natural and simple 
outgrowths from what science already knows ; they are first-fruits from 
a promised land which has been seen from the hills but has] not yet 
been explored. 

It is a most unpardonable blunder for a scientific man to suppose 
that everything that can be known is already more or less within his 
cognisance ; and his least justifiable attitude is that which holds that 
there are certain departments of truth in the universe which it is not 
lawful to investigate. 

The same Lord Kelvin who, in a moment of aberration (I hope), 
wrote this very year that " one-half of hypnotism and clairvoyance is 
imposture and the rest bad observation,"! uttered also the worthier 
sentiment that " Science is bound by the everlasting law of honour to 
face fearlessly every problem which can fairly be presented to it."- 

' Stead's Borderland. No. 1. 

2 Presidential Address to the British Association, Edinburgli. B. A. Report 
187], or "Popular Lectures and Addresses,' (Macmillan), Vol. II., p. 200. 

Report on the Census of Hallucinations. 




Chapter I. 


The statistical inquiry into the spontaneous hallucinations of the 
sane, of which the results are here given, was undertaken in 1889 
by the Committee which now presents its final report. It will 
be convenient, for brevity, to refer to this inquiry as "The Census." 
The undertaking received the approval of the International Congress 
of Experimental Psychology, held in Paris in 1889 under the 
presidency of Professor Ribot ; and, in its present form, the inquiry 
may be said to date from this Congress, which formally entrusted it to 
Professor SidgNvick's direction. 

For though, as we shall presently explain, the investigation was 
originally started with a special view to the aims of the Society for 
Psychical Research, the interest taken in it at this general Congress of 
Experimental Psychologists led the Committee somewhat to enlarge its 
scope. Accordingly, in tabulating our returns and stating the general 
conclusions that may l^e drawn from them, we have taken pains to note, 
and treated more fully than we should otherwise have done, such 
points as seemed likely to interest psychologists generally who might 
be studying the phenomenon of hallucination, — apart from the special 
question of the " veridicality " of some hallucinations, on which the 
Census was primarily designed to throw light. 

AVe were confirmed in our choice of this more comprehensive treat- 
ment of our results by our experience of the labour involved in the 
investigation ; which renders it, in our opinion, very doubtful whether 
any equally extensive statistical inquiry into the charactei'istics and 
conditions of this class of phenomena will ever again be undertaken, 
unless with some such special interest as that which prompted our 

The plan of our Report, thus enlarged in its scope, divides itself 
naturally into three parts. First, in Chapters II. and III., we explain 
the method of inquiry, present the chief statistical results in a tabular 
form, and then give a full discussion of possible sources of error and 
endeavour to estimate the extent of their operation. Then — in 
Chapters IV.-XI. inclusive — we deal mainly with topics interesting to 
psychologists generally, and only connected in a subordinate way with 

26 Report on the Census of Hallucinations. [chap. 

the primary aim of our inquiry. "We discuss the characteristics by which 
sensory halkicinations are to be distinguished from cognate phenomena, 
especially from mere illusions of the senses : the chief forms of 
hallucinations — especially of the visual type — and the stages in which 
they are sometimes developed : the physiological processes involved in 
them and their physical effects on percipients so far as reported : and 
the influence, favourable or the reverse, of certain general physical con- 
ditions, — such as age, sex, health and heredity — and certain special men- 
tal conditions such as grief, anxiety, nervous overstrain, abstraction, 
and expectancy. Then, finally, in Chapter XII., we enter upon the 
special subject which supplied the original motive for undertaking the 
work of the Census, and justifies its publication in these Proceedings, — 
the examination of the evidence for telepathy furnished by the results 
of the present inquiry ; and from this point to the end of the Report 
our attention is concentrated on that portion of our phenomena which 
there is — -or may appear to be — any reason to refer to a supernormal 

In order to explain clearly the principal question on which we endeav- 
our to throw light in this concluding portion of the Report, it will be 
convenient briefly to review the whole evidence for telepathy hitherto 
collected by our Society, so as to show the relation of this particular 
question to the general course of our investigations. 

The word Telepathy was bi'ought into use by us to express the 
(scientifically speaking) novel conclusion — which several different lines 
of inquiry have tended to establish — that thoughts and feelings in one 
mind are sometimes caused by the influence of another mind, conveyed 
somehow otherwise than through the recognised channels of sense. The 
word by its derivation suggests that the influence in question operates 
across a considerable distance of space : and this is ordinarily the case 
in the instances of telepathic phenomena with which the present 
Report is concerned ; but it has been found convenient to use the term, 
for scientific purposes, as merely connoting the exclusion of recognised 
channels of sensation, and not necessarily implying any definite 
interval of space between the persons Avhose states of mind are 
telepathically connected. 

Now, there can be no doul^t that the general acceptance of 
Telepathy, in this sense, as a fact of nature, must importantly modify 
the current scientific view of the relation of mind to matter. But it 
may conceivably modify this view in either of two different ways, 
respectively important in very different degrees. 

{a) It may lead to the ultimate discovery of some physical process 
hitherto unknown, hy which the psychical state of one human being (A) 
influences the psychical state of another human being (B) through the 
corresponding physical states of the two human organisms concerned. 

I.] Beport on the Census of Hallucinations. 27 

Or (b), it may lead ultimately to the conclusion that the causal 
relation between the two psychical facts telepathically connected is 
independent of any such physical process. 

It is obvious that the modification of received views involved in the 
acceptance of the second alternative would be far greater and more 
fundamental than that involved in the acceptance of the first. We 
may therefore assume that, if the fact of telepathy were once accepted 
by the scientific world as completely established, the efforts of scientific 
men to explain the fact would— at any rate at first — take the direction 
suggested by the first alternative : i.e., they would try to discover the 
physical process involved in telepathy, — -unless, indeed, other strange 
facts should be simultaneously established clearly cognate to telepathy^ 
and clearly not admitting of any such physical explanation. 

But we now refer to this only to say that no attempt of this kind — to 
discover the physical basis of telepathy — has been made in the present 
Report : since no indication of any such basis, or of the direction 
in which (if at all) it is to be sought^ appears to us to be afforded by 
any of the lines of investigation so far pursued, — including such 
examination as the present inquiry has enabled us to make of the 
empirical causes and concomitants of hallucinations. In dealing there- 
fore with the hallucinations ^jrima facie telepathic, reported to us 
in the course of the Census, we have been mainly concerned to examine 
carefully their value as evidence of the general fact that the psychical 
state of one human being may influence the psychical state of another, 
under conditions which satisfactorily exclude all known physical 
processes by which such influence might be conveyed. 

Now, when we consider, from this evidential point of view, the 
whole work of investigation carried on by our tSociety, we find 
that it has divided itself into two main parts : (1) Experiments on 
persons prima facie susceptible of telepathic influence, whether in the 
hypnotic or in a normal condition ; and (2) the collection and exami- 
nation of accounts of phenomena ^jrwna facie telepathic, which have 
been produced not experimentally, but spontaneously. It will easily 
be understood that the problems presented by these two lines of 
investigation are to a great extent dissimilar. For the most part — 
though, as will presently appear, not entirely— it has l)een only found 
possible to perform telepathic experiments successfully when the 
persons between whom the telepathic influence operates are separated 
by a comparatively small interval of space ; and in such cases it has 
usually been a matter of some difliculty to render the exclusion of 
kno\vn processes of sense quite certain. And this has often been the 
only difficulty : since, in the experiments which we regard as successful, 
it is often quite obviously undeniable that there is some causal 
connexion between the similar ideas in the two minds concerned ; the 


Report on the Census of Halliccinations. [chap. 

only possible question is whether that causal connexion is telepathic. 
The opposite is more often the case with the non-experimental 
evidence ; the distance between the two persons concerned is often so 
great that if any causal connexion can be established between a 
particular experience of one mind and the corresponding experience of 
another — say, between the death of A. in England, and the apparition 
■of A. to B. in Australia — there will be no dispute that the causation 
lies outside the ordinary channels of sense. Thus, while practically the 
main point in experimenting is to exclude known modes of causation, 
the main point in dealing with the non-experimental evidence is to 
ascertain whether there is any causal connexion at all. 

It should be added that in the former case the psychical elFect 
telepathically produced is in most cases not a hallucination : whereas 
in the latter case hallucinations constitute the larger part of the 
phenomena prima facie referable to telepathy, and the part that is, 
generally speaking, evidentially most important. 

The difference between these two portions of our evidence is so 
marked that some critics, not altogether unfriendly to our investi- 
gations, have been disposed to regard as forced and artificial the 
connexion that we have tried to establish between them. " Granted," 
they say, " that you have managed to transfer diagrams and numbers 
in some unknown way to the mind of a person sitting a few feet off : 
granted, again, that your well-attested appearances of dying persons to 
friends in remote places can hardly be explained as merely subjective 
hallucinations : still, the phenomena are too dissimilar in their nature 
and circumstances to justify even a hypothetical reference of them to 
the same cause." 

To this objection there are two answers. Firstly, apparitions or 
other sensory hallucinations are not the only kind of spontaneous 
experiences in which the influence of one mind on another is found 
operating at a distance far beyond the limits within which our suc- 
cessful experiments in telepathy are ordinarily confined. A number of 
instances may be found in Phantasms of the Living (Chaps. V. — VII.) of 
sensations, emotional states, ideas and mental images, and impulses to 
action, produced in a manner which can hardly be regarded as other 
than telepathic, if telejoatliy be once admitted as a real cause. It 
is true that these phenomena are, for the most part, evidentially less 
important than those with which we are concerned in the present 
Report ; but they cannot be disregarded in considering the whole 
evidence for telepathy, and they form a natural link between the 
spontaneous hallucinations and the experimental cases of thought- 

A more important link, however, is furnished by a portion of our 
experimental evidence — comparatively small in bulk but good in 

I.] Report on the Census of Hallucinations. 29 

quality — Ashich has a special affinity to the subject of the present 
inquiry. "We refer to cases in which the percipient sees an apparition 
of some one who is trying to transfer an idea of himself — or of some 
other human being — to the percipient's mind, without any previous 
knowledge on the part of the latter that such an attempt was being 
made. There are 15 successful experiments of this kind already 
recorded l:>y our Society, in which ten different experimenters have 
taken a part : the records are all at first-hand, and in every case the 
evidence of the percipient has been obtained, as well as that of the 
experimenter. Thii'teen of these experiments were made during the 
years 1878-1890, and were recorded less than 2 years after the event; 
and in 6 of them a record was made, either by the experimenter 
before learning the result of the experiment, or by the percipient while 
ignorant that an experiment had been made. It is also noteworthy 
that seven out of the ten experimenters appear to have succeeded on 
the first trial. ^ 

The experiments may he divided into three classes. (1) In the 
great majority of cases the experimenter was trying to make himself 
visible to the percipient, at or near the time at which the effect was 
produced on the latter. But (2) there are two cases in which the 
percipient saw an apparition of the experimenter when the latter was 
merely trying to make the percipient think of him : and these are 
noteworthy as having a closer resemblance than the first class to the 
ordinary non-experimental apparitions of living jjersons. (3) Finally, 
we have an old, but well attested, record of a unique case, in which 
the experimenter transferred to two percipients an apjDarition of 
a third person. An account of this case was given in our Pro- 
ceedings, Part XVI., Vol. VI., p, 287 : it is interesting as pi-esent- 
ing more than one point of analogy to certain classes of spontaneous 
apparitions, which at first sight appear not easily susceptiljle of a 
telepathic explanation, though it is difficult to regard them as purely 

An examination of these experimentally produced hallucinations 
will, we think, render it easier to enter into the point of view from 
which we regard the non-experimental evidence for telepathy with 

^ Ten of these cases are recorded in Phantasms of the Living (see Vol. I.-, p. 
Ixxxi. and pp. 103-100, and Vol. II., pp. 671, 675) ; and five in the Journal of the 
S.P.R. (see Vol. III., p. 307, Vol. IV., p. 218, and pp. 321-326, and Vol. V., pp. 
23-4). The two cases last mentioned are included in the Census, and will be found in 
Chap. XIV. It is noteworthy that, in the majority of these cases, the experimenter 
was either asleep or hypnotised when his apparition was seen, having fallen asleep (or 
into the hypnotic state) with his mind fixed on the determination to appear. 

It may be added that, while this Chapter was passing through the press, we 
received information of another successful attempt of the same kind. 

30 Report on the Census of Ilalliccinations. [chap. 

Avhich the present Report is concerned. This evidence consists — as has 
been indicated — largely, though not solely, of accounts of apparitions 
of human beings, who are afterwards ascertained to have been dying — 
or passing through some crisis other than death — elsewhere, at or 
about the time at which the apparition is seen ; the seer of the 
apparition not having at the time any knowledge of this fact, other 
than what is conveyed by the ajsparition itself. We speak of these 
phenomena as "coincidental" or "veridical" hallucinations. The 
latter of the two terms has been sometimes criticised, on the gi'ound 
that the meaning of the adjective is inconsistent with the received 
sense of the substantive ; but it seems to us that the combination 
exactly expresses the mingling of truth and error in the apparent 
perception of objective fact which the phenomenon involves. We 
regard the phenomenon as a " hallucination," because it is an apparent 
perception of a body occupying a portion of space, under conditions 
which render it unreasonable to suppose that this portion of space 
really was so occupied : at the same time, we call it a " veridical 
hallucination," because, so far as it suggests that the person in question 
is dying or passing through some other crisis at the time, it repre- 
sents a real fact otherwise unknown to the percipient. 

We need hardly remind our readers that the labours of our Society 
during the last twelve years have brought before the world a consider- 
able number of such experiences, recorded at first hand and with 
corroboration by intelligent witnesses whose good faith is unim- 
peached. And they will now, I trust, be willing to regard it as at least 
an obvious and natural explanation of these phenomena, when 
considered in the light of the expeiiments before described, to suppose 
that the apparition is an effect somehow telepathically caused by the 
contemporaneous crisis in the life of the person that it represents ; 
in the same manner as the experimentally induced hallucination is 
somehow telepathically caused by the attempt of the experimenter to 
influence tlie percipient. Certainly, if all hallucinations that occur other- 
wise than experimentally were as clearly veridical or coincidental as 
many that have been narrated in our publications, this explanation — 
or some other equally alien to the view of ordinary science — would be 
seen to be inevitable : since in that case it would be evident, at first 
sight, that the coincidence of these numerous hallucinations, occurring 
quite independently of one another, with critical events in the lives of 
the persons represented could not possibly be due to chance. But this 
is not the case: common experience makes us familiar with the fact 
that similar apparitions of living persons occur when nothing particular 
is happening to the persons that they represent. Let us call these 
" non-coincidental " : it is easily seen that if they are sufficiently 
numerous in proportion to the veridical or coincidental ones, the 

I.] Report on the Census of Hallminations. 31 

coincidences in the latter class of cases may be reasonably regarded as 
purely accidental, and could furnish no evidence for telepathy. Before, 
therefore, we can come to a final conclusion as to the telepathic 
character of these phenomena, we must form some estimate of the 
proportion of non-coincidental to coincidental cases. 

This is the point of view from which the question was treated in 
Phantasms of the Living, Chap. XIII.. Here, in arguing against the 
theory of chance coincidence, as applied to apparitions prima facie 
veridical, Mr. Gurney employed a calculation framed on the basis of a 
Census similar to ours ; and obtained the result that chance could 
not account for the number of coincidences. He was, however, unable 
to obtain answers from more than 5,705 persons,— a number too 
small to enable him to draw inferences as to the proportion of 
coincidental cases from these answers alone. Accordingly, in order 
to arrive at a conclusion, while he inferred the fi'equency of sub- 
jective hallucinations within a certain period of time fi'om his Census, 
he had to infer the frequency of coincidental hallucinations from 
the best-authenticated cases given in Phantasms of the Living, making 
certain assumptions as to the size of the circle from which all the 
cases there given were drawn. It was always his wish that a more 
extensive inquiry should be undertaken, by which a sufficient number 
of answers might be obtained to enable the investigator to infer the 
general proportion of coincidental to non-coincidental cases from 
these answers alone. The number of our informants in the present 
Census is, we think, sufficiently large to justify us in adopting this 
simpler and more satisfactory method ; which is, accordingly, applied 
in Chapters XII. and XIII. of the present Report, to that group 
of coincidental cases in respect of which the probability of chance 
coincidence is capable of being calculated with numerical exactness. 
Then, in Chapter XIV., we illustrate and discuss the rest of the 
evidence for telepathy furnished by our Census. In Chapter XV., we 
deal with the cases of shared — or, as we find it convenient to call it, 
collective — hallucination^ the explanation of which presents peculiar 
difficulties. Finally, in Chapters XVI. and XVII., we consider how 
far the operation of other causes of a supernormal kind is required to 
explain any part of the phenomena reported to us. 

It only remains to explain how the labour and responsibility of our 
work has been distributed among difi'erent members of the Committee. 
The Report has been in the main drawn up by Mrs. Sidgwick and 
Miss Johnson, with special assistance from Professor Sidgwick, who has 
acted throughout as Chairman of the Committee. But the plan on 
which it has been drawn up was considered and determined, in a series 
of meetings, by the Committee Jointly, who also discussed together the 
evidential value of the cases prima facie telepathic : and the other 

32 Report on the Census of Hallucinations. 

members of the Committee — Mr. Myers and Mr. Podmore — have 
read all the chapters in proof and recommended additions, omissions, 
and modifications, and have taken part in the personal interrogation of 
important witnesses. The lamented death of one member of the Com- 
mittee — Dr. A. T. Myers — deprived ns of his aid before the final Report 
was composed ; but he had been able to consider the statistical 
evidence obtained by us as to the influence of ill-health in causing 
hallucinations, and to give advice as to the manner in which it should 
be treated. 

*»* A complete Table of Contents will be found at the end ot the Rej^ort, before- 
the Appendix. 

Method of Conducting the Enquiry. 33 

Chapter TI. 

method of conducting the enquiry and general results. 

As has been already explained, our general aim was to ascertain 
what proportion of persons have had sensory hallucinations while 
awake, and not suffering from delirium or insanity or any other morbid 
condition obviously conducive to hallucination ; and, further, to 
enquire into the nature of these hallucinations and the conditions 
under which they occur. We determined, however, to limit ourselves 
to halkicinations of sight, of hearing, and of touch, and, in the case of 
hearing, to sounds suggesting the human voice ; because, while we thus 
included most of the more interesting and important sensory halluci- 
nations, we not only reduced the labour of the investigation, but 
avoided certain difficulties in obtaining definite statistical results. For 
the phantasmal character of supposed hallucinations of the other senses 
— of taste, of the muscular sense, of smell, — and of those representing 
non-vocal sounds, is more often uncertain than that of the hallucinations 
to which we have confined our attention. If any one sees distinctly a 
human figure near him in a well-lighted room, where it is certain that 
there is nobody but himself, — if he hears a familiar voice speaking to 
him when its owner is miles away, there can hardly be a doubt that 
the experience is hallucinatory, in the sense explained in the preceding 
chapter. But if he hears in a house a sound of footsteps which all 
efforts fail to explain, it still remains very doubtful whether the 
impression was not after all caused by a real sound, of which he has 
merely failed to discover the origin owing to his incomplete knowledge 
of the acoustical properties of the building and of the possible source 
of the sound. Some persons would, we found, in such a case answer 
our question negatively, and others affirmatively, so that a collection of 
their answers would be of little statistical value. 

Method of Conducting the Enquiry. 

The question put to all the persons who are included in our 
statistics was : — 

Have you ever, when believing yourself to he completely awake, had a 
vivid impression of seeing or being touched by a living being or inani- 
mate object, or of hearing a voice ; which impression, so far as you could 
discover, was iiot due to any external physical cause ? 

This question we shall speak of as "the Census question." It was 
printed at the head of a schedule, marked A, with spaces for twenty- 
five answers and for the names, occupations, etc., of the persons answer- 
ing. The A schedules were entrusted to persons who volunteered to 
collect answers, and the collectors were asked to put the question, 


34 ■ Report on the Census of Hallucinations. [chap. 

impartially and unselectively, to persons over the age of 21. An expla- 
nation of the object of the enquiry, and instructions as to the method 
to be followed in collecting answers, were printed on the back of the 
schedule, which is reproduced in Ap2)eiidix A. 

The Census question is obviously not free from ambiguities, and, as 
worded, would be likely to bring in some affirmative answers not refer- 
ring to phenomena which we wished to include in our statistics ; ^ 
but ic was necessary to make it short and to avoid technicalities, and 
it seemed difficult to make it more precise consistently with these 
conditions. We believed, too,— and experience has on the whole justified 
the belief — that the particulars given by our informants would enable 
us to reduce the returns to uniformity. 

For those who answered the question of schedule A in the affirmative, 
a second schedule, marked B, was provided, containing questions, with 
spaces for answers. The questions on this schedule are also re- 
printed in Appendix A. They were intended to bring out the most 
important and essential features of the hallucination, together with 
such points as the date of its occurrence, the conditions under which it 
was experienced, whether any notes had been made at the time, and 
whether the percipient had had any similar experiences. In order 
that the percipients should not be deterred by the fear of publicity 
from giving information, both A and B schedules had printed clearly 
on them the words " No names or addresses will be published without 
special permission." 

The information given about the hallucinations was, of course, not 
necessarily limited by the questions on the B schedule. Many in- 
formants volunteered further details, some preferred to write their 
accounts in a narrative form, and in a very large number of cases we 
elicited further details by correspondence, — either directly with the 
percipient or more often through the collector, — and obtained corrobo- 
rative evidence. In a considerable number of cases a member of the 
Committee has seen the percipient and talked over the particulars of 
his experience with him. 

The Collectors. 

The collectors, who aided us in carrying out the enquiry, were 410 
in number, 223 women and 187 men. More than a quarter of them 
were friends or acquaintances of members of the Committee, and some of 
these again induced friends or acquaintances of their own to become 
collectors. About a third of all the collectors are members of the 
S.P.R., while about another sixth are friends of theirs. Further 

1 Strictly intertsreted, for instance, it may be held to include impressions occurring 
during sleep, if the percipient while asleep, believed himself to be awake ; and a, 
few of those who answered understood the phrase in this sense. 


Method of Conducting the Enquiry. 


■assistance in the enquiry was obtained by a special appeal to psycholo- 
gists made by Professor Sidgwick in Mind, and through articles by him 
and other members of the Committee published in various more popular 
periodicals {Nineteenth Century, New Revieiv, Murray''s Magazine, the 
Review of Revieivs). Through the kindness of Mr. W. T. Stead, copies 
of the A and B schedules were circulated with one number of the 
Review of Reviews, and 40 collectors, who obtained between them 936 
answers, were thus added. A more complete analysis showing how the 
services of the collectors have been obtained, with some particulars of 
the number of answers collected through the different sources, and the 
status and profession of the collectors, will be found in Ap'pendix B. 
It will be observed that the great majority (about nine-tenths) are 
educated people,- — educated, that is, up to the standard of the pro- 
fessional classes, — and correspondence with nearly all has given us an 
opportunity of judging of the bona fides and intelligence of collectors 
not personally known to members of the Committee. 

The work of all the collectors has been entirely gratuitous, and we 
take this opportunity of thanking them for the care and energy that 
they have displayed in carrying out a piece of work which has, we 
fear, often turned out to be much more troublesome than they had 
anticipated, — involving, as it has done, a good deal of correspondence 
with ourselves, as well as persistent questioning of their informants. 
The amount of work done by some collectors has been very large 
indeed, as will be seen by reference to the Appendix. 

Classes of Persons Inchided in the Statistics. 
As far as intellectual status is concerned, the collectors are fairly 
representative of the persons answering the Census question ; as each 
has, as a rule, collected among his own friends and acquaintances. 
There is, however, a somewhat larger proportion of uneducated persons 
among those answering than among the collectors, because a few of 
the educated collectors — and especially some among the large collectors 
— have worked a good deal among uneducated people, and a good many 
collectors have asked the servants of their own or their friends' house- 
holds. Notwithstanding this, the preponderance of educated persons 
ainong our informants remains too great for our statistics to afford a good 
basis for ascertaining the distribution of the phenomena investigated 
among different social grades. But so far as they throw light on the 
question, they point to the conclusion that differences of educa- 
tion and occupation lead to no material difference in tendency to 

Number of Informants. 

The collection was carried on for a little over three years, having 
been begun in April, 1889, and ended in May, 1892. When the time 

D 2 


Report on the Census of Hallucinations. [chap.. 

announced for closing it arrived, we had nearly 17,000 answers, and, 
by including belated schedules as they came in, we made up, for con- 
venience, a round numbei", stopping when we had reached exactly 

Pro2Jortion of Affirmative Ansivm^s. 

Of the 17,000 answers, 2,272 were in the affirmative; but it 
appeared on examination that important deductions had to be made 
from this number. In some cases the scope of the question asked had 
not been fully attended to by our informants, and the experiences 
described {e.g., dreams, or the hearing of mysterious footsteps), clearly 
did not come within it. Affirmative answers relating to such cases 
must of course be counted as negative. Their number is 353. 

There are certain other experiences as to which it is doubtful 
whether they come within the scope of the Census question or not. We 
find, as might be expected, that persons who have had such experiences 
sometimes answer " yes " and sometimes " no," according to their in- 
terpretation of the exact meaning, of the question. This may have 
happened to a much larger extent than we can discover, because when 
a person answers "no " no further information is generally given. For 
statistical purposes, therefore, it would have been useless to take count 
of these experiences, and the best plan seemed to be to exclude 
them, in order to secure uniformity of result. We have for this reason 
counted affirmative answers as negative when the experiences on 
which they were based belonged solely to one or other of the following 
types : — 

( 1 ) Hallucinations occurring either during illnesses of a kind in which 
delirium is known often to occur (e.g., scarlet or typhoid fever), though 
there is no proof that there was delirium in the particular case ; or 
while the percipient was suffering from the effects of temporary injury to 
the brain {e.g., after a blow on the head). (Number of answers, 18.) 

(2) Dream-images and nightmares, even when persisting into the 
waking state. (Number of answers, 7.) 

(3) Voices or touches rousing the percipient from sleep, but not 
continuing when he wakes. (Number of answers, 21.) 

(4) Visions of objects seen with closed eyes. (Number of answers, 3.) 

(5) Visual experiences of the type called " illusions liypnagogiques " 
— objects seen in going to sleep or awaking, in the dark, and with- 
out reference to actual space {e.g., " Faces in the dark "). (Number of 
answers, 4.) 

(6) Apparent illumination of the place where the percipient was, 
or of real objects in his field of view. (Number of answers, 11.) 

(7) Sounds as of the human voice other than speech — viz., laughing, 
sighing, coughing, singing crying, groaning, sobbing, whistling. 

11.] MetJtod of Conducting the Enquiry. 37 

screams or shrieks ; also whispering when no distinct woi'ds can be 
heard, but not sounds as of speaking aloud, even though the words are 
not distinguished. (Number of answers, 24.) 

(8) Tactile impressions not involving a sense of contact with any 
definite object, e.g., feelings of pressure through the bedclothes, or of 
the bedclothes being moved, shaking of the bed in which the percipient 
was, cold breezes. (Number of answers, 10.) 

(9) Lights seen at some little distance out of doors, and thus 
under conditions in which it is almost necessarily impossible to exclude 
the hypothesis of their being real lights (9 answers) ; and 

(10) Objects seen sideways out of the corner of the eye, and never 
brought within the field of direct vision, when there is consequently a 
■special probability of illusion (5 answers). 

(11) After excluding these well-defined classes of experiences, there 
remain others about which serious doubt must be felt as to whether 
they were really waking sensory hallucinations at all. A considerable 
number 1 of such doubtful experiences are included in our tables, 
because in view of the numerical comparison to be made of seemingly 
veridical hallucinations with those which are to be taken as purely 
subjective (see Chapter XIII.), it is important to be sure of not 
understating the number of the subjective cases ; but the Committee 
have felt justified in cutting out certain cases where, after careful con- 
sideration, the reasons for regarding the experience as hallucinatory 
seemed to them altogether inadequate. In each case thus omitted 
they have endeavoured to give full weight to the percipient's own 
opinion, but this is often very dubious. Forty-seven afiirmative answers 
have been counted as negative under tliis head — namely, 15 as not 
truly externalised, and 32 as either mere illusions," or cases of mis- 
taken identity. 

Experiences of some of the above types are often interesting, and 
some of them will be discussed further on, although we have excluded 
them from the numerical tables. 

The number of answers transferred from the "yes" to the "no" 
list under all the above heads is 522, ^ or 26 per cent, of the cases in 
which those who have answered " yes " have given particulars of their 

1 An outside estimate of this number would, we think, be W per cent, see p. 100. 

- The distinction between illusions and hallucinations is explained in Chap. V. 
For f urcher analysis of these transferred answers, see Appendix C. 

^ Quite apart from this changing of the answer from "yes" into "no," 21 persons 
who answered " yes " have been excluded altogether from the Census, because the 
account given of their experiences was such as to make it almost certain that they 
should have been counted as answering "no," but was too vague for us to feel quite 
justified in counting them so- 

38 Report on the Census of Hallucinations. [chap. 

But 256 persons have given the answer "yes" and withheld all 
information as to the nature of their experiences. Various causes have- 
led to this— sometimes merely negligence, indolence, or shyness on the 
part of collector or percipient — sometimes disinclination in the per- 
cipient to confide in the collector — sometimes the vagueness or remote- 
ness of the experience, making it difficult for the percipient to describe 
or remember details, or its triviality, making him think it not worth 
recording, — sometimes the intimate nature of the expei'ience and the 
emotions connected with it. All these causes, we know, have operated, 
and there may have been others. We have as far as possible tried 
to overcome these difficulties by corresponding ourselves with the 
percipients who had given no particulars, and have in 39 cases obtained 
information from them. From the accounts received, together with 
information given in some other cases by collectors, we have come to 
the conclusion that the general character of the experiences which are 
not desciibed, is not, on the whole, different from that of the described 
experiences. We have accordingly felt justified in assuming that the 
proportion of affirmative answers which should have been negative 
is about the same among the undescribed cases as among those which 
are described, and therefore 26 per cent, of those who have answered 
" yes " and given no particulars, have been transferred to the " no " 
column. ^ 

With these corrections, our answers are found to be divided as 
shown in Table I. The number of experiences which led to the affirma- 
tive answers are shown in Tables II. (with Supplement), IV., V., VI., 
VII. and VIII., classified under different heads, according to the 
sense affected, the natui-e of the percept, the date of the occurrence, 
and certain conditions of the percipient at the time. Table III. is a 
kind of Supplement to Table I., relating to the answers of informants 
who have had more than one experience. Table IX. gives the results 
of Tables I. and II., divided according to the nationality of the infor- 
mants ; Table X. the results obtained in certain specially selected 
portions of the collection ; and Table XI. the present ages of our 
informants, and the distribution of the hallucinations according to the 
age of the percipient at the time of the experience. 

The Tables are followed by further explanations. 

1 Of the 522 answers transferred from the " yes "to the "no" list on account of 
experiences not coming within the scope of the Census question, 198 were from men 
and 324 from'women. Thus, of the whole number of persons who hare answered 
"yes" and given particulars of their experiences, 25 J per cent, of the men 
and 26 per cent, of the women should have answered "no." Of the 256 persons 
answering "yes" and giving no particulars of their experiences, 102 were men 
and 1.54 women. Of these, therefore, 25^ per cent, (i.e., 26) of the men and 26 per 
cent, (i.e., 40) of the women are counted as having answered "no." 


General Results. 



Showing the number of negative and affirmative answers and the 
proportion of atiirmative answers to the whole. 

[ Number answering " Yes." 



given at 

given at 



number of 
1 answers. 

§ C 2 
gSE = 



























Note. — The answers included in the third column of figures in Table I. are g^ven 
at first hand, but the particulars about the e.xperiences which led to the answer " yes " 
in these 24.5 cases are given at second-hand, or in 7 cases at third or fourth-hand. 
The second-hand accounts are usually written by the collector, who received them 
orally from the percipient. We have, of course, always obtained the accounts at 
first-hand when it, seemed possible to do so. All the accounts in the succeeding 
chapters are given at first-hand, except one or two in which the opposite is expressly 

40 Report on the Census of Hallucinations. [chap. 

Hallucinations classified according to the sense 

(1) (2) (3) (4) (5) (6) 

Realistic Human Phantasms 





of living 

of dead 


1st 2nd 
hnd. hnd. 

1st 2nd 
hnd. hnd. 

1st 2nd 
hnd. hnd. 

1st 2nd 
hnd. hnd. 

1st 2nd 
hnd. hnd. 

1st 2nd 
tind. hnd. 


Visual and Auditory (vocal)... 
Visual and Auditory (non-vocal) 

Visual and Tactile 

Visual and Auditory (vocal) | 

and Tactile / 

Visual and Auciicoiy i^noii- i 

vocal) aiid Tactile ... J 

Auditory (vocal) 

Auditory (vocal) and Tactile ... 


Tactile and Auditory (non- ( 

vocal) 1 


296 36 
30 1 
7 — 
13 — 

5 — 

1 — 

172 42 

6 — 
6 — 

105 22 

41 3 
4 — 

7 2 

6 1 

57 13 
4 — 

8 2 

272 47 
10 — 
24 2 

■1 — 

1 — 

144 58 
1 — 
55 12 

5 — 

120 12 

1 — 
13 — 

5 3 

2 — 

A — 

18 9 
— 1 
3 — 

10 3 
1 — 

1 — 

4 3 

536 79 

232 43 

520 119 

143 15 

21 10 

16 6 

Note. -To obtain the corrected totals given in column (15), the 190 affirmative 
proportionately to the totals of visual, auditory, and tactile cases given 
(16) are calculated on the corrected totals. 

Showing the number of groups of 








\isual •■• (several 

Auditory ...-^ge^eral 

_ (-Many 

Tactile ...{several 

Undescribedj^j^'^y^l - - 

3 1 
7 2 
18 4 
38 7 
1 — 

7 — 
6 2 

5 2 

6 1 
1 — 
1 1 

9 2 
13 2 
18 13 
33 13 

9 8 
13 5 

2 — 
5 — 

3 — 

— 1 


67 14 

25 6 

95 43 

7 - 

3 — 

— 1 

II.] General Results. 41 

























;r of HaUuci- 
3 per cent, of 
3 answering. 

1st 2nd 
hnd. hnd. 

1st 2nd 
hnd. hnd. 

1st 2nd 
hnd. hnd. 

1st 2nd 
luid. hnd 

1st 2nd 
hnd. hnd. 

1st 2nd 
hnd. hnd. 

1st 2nd 
hnd. hnd. 

1st 2nd 
lind. hnd. 

1st &2nd 

a.2 5 


23 6 
1 — 

7 — 

22 11 

3 — 

10 2 
3 — 

14 1 

2 — 
1 — 

14 — 

1 — 

2 1 

8 12 

912 161 
87 5 
67 3 


2 — 

— — 

1 — 

— — 

— — 

— — 

31 5 
19 1 

4 — 

1120 175 

JL -1. ^ W -1-1 " 




2 1 

2 — 

35 14 
1 — 

377 116 
11 — 
108 29 

6 — 

} 388 116 
1 114 29 



33 6 

27 12 

16 2 

17 1 

53 15 

8 12 

1622 320 

1622 320 

answers relating to which no particulars have been given (see Table I.) are divided 
in column (14) and added to these totals. The percentages in column 










4 1 
2 1 

2 2 
1 5 

1 — 

2 - 
1 — 

1 — 

11 1 

18 5 

42 7 
53 17 
41 19 
77 22 
11 8 
16 6 

1 — 
3 1 

1 — 
3 1 

6 2 

4 7 

3 — 

1 — 

33 7 

244 80 


Report on the Census of Hallucinations. [chap; 


Number of Persons who have had more than one Hallucination,, 
classified according to the number they have had and the 

sense affected. 

Sense affected. 

Number of Hallucinations. 
3 4 5 6 Indefinite. 


All Visual 








Some Visual and some Auditory 








Some Visual, some Auditory, 

and some Tactile 



Some Visual and some Tactile 




All Auditory 





Some Auditory and some Tac- 





All Tactile 












Number of the above Persons ^ 
who have seen apparitions > 
of recognisedliving persons. J 








Note. — Table III. includes only the persons who have had more than one 
hallucination and who give some account at first-hand of their experiences (their 
total number, 427, being thus comparable with the number of persons included in the 
second column of Table I. ) 

In classifying the hallucinations they have had according to the sense affected, 
the term " all visual " means that all their hallucinations affected the sense of sight ; 
the term " some visual and some auditory " means that some of their hallucinations 
were visual and some auditory, and so on. Thus the second line in the Table gives 
the information that, out of the 151 persons who have each had two hallucinations, 
26 have each had one visual and one auditory hallucination ; out of the 28 persons 
who have each had three hallucinations, 6 have each had, either two visual and one 
auditory, or one visual and two auditory ; and so on. 


General Results. 

















I— I 















S2 (2 

<a O 

O rH 

lOO^^CMi— ICOCM.— li— ti— I 
00 I— ( 00 I 



O OD ^ t- T— I <M 

(M 'ID O 00 CO <M lO <M 00 

lO O CI O 



r— 1 






I — 1 




I — 1 


1 — 1 



1 — 1 




] — 1 

1 — 1 


1 — 1 

1 — 1 

1 — 1 


1 — 1 




) — i 


1 — 1 


T— 1 



1 — 1 

1— t 


I CI I ,— I ^ 

I I ^ CO I 



I I I I— I CI 


































• I — » 




"*H tjH tW 

O o o 
















Report on the Census of Hallucinations. [chap 


(M CO 

O O ^ 

CO T— ( CO 


CM T— I 


CO o 

<M (M CO 


O X! 



T— I o 


CO ^ 



l1 £ 


g p fi 

c ^1 * 
§5 =« c 

C3 5; hb 








I— I 


















^ O I-H 

O CO CM 1— I 















03 a) 


tc o 



• >— s 








II.] General Results. 45 


Visual Hallucinations (combining Tables IV. and V.). 



the last 

A VPfl TC! 

than 10 



Realistic Human Apparitions 

living ; 

Immediately after 
Awake in bed 


Out of doors 















dead , 

Immediately after 


Awake in bed 


Out of doors 















Immediately after 
Awake in bed 


Out of doors 

^ Unstated 

















' Immediately after 

Awake in bed 


Out of doors 

\ Unstated 














All other 

' Immediately after 

Awake in bed 

^ Up 

Out of doors 

\ Unstated 















Report pn the Census of Hallucinations. [chap. 





More than 
10 years ago 

00 00 

(M O CO 
iH CO 

With'in the 
last 10 years 

CO (M C~ 



iH (M tH 




T-l CO C<1 


More than 

10 years ago 

Within the 
last 10 years 

(M CO J>. 


T-H T-l iH 

be OJ & 

P3 ^ 




More than 
10 years ago 

Within the 
last 10 years 

I— I CO lO 
CO 00 I 
00 tH 

•5 g 

bo Q 




More than 
10 years ago 

Within the 
last 10 years 

lO »0 CD 
T-l (M 


CO CO i£5 
rH CO 







Th -* CO 
(M iH 

1-1 T-l 

lO O iH 



I i 
tH O 

<>J o 

<M tH 


CO (M 

(M CO 

tH iH 












tJ^ CD "tJI 

T— 1 CO CO 






lO I— 1 


!>• tH CO 







T— I 

<M Cvl r-l 



T— 1 ^ 


CO CO 1— 1 


O O 00 



T— 1 

1 CO CO 



CO 1 



Oq CO 1 


I.^ 00 




j CO CO 





(M (M «<1 



03 - 

o o 


.15 w 



CO 03 
03 TTj 



General Results. 












o 5 
g 8 





















' Totals. 

CO CO !>■ ^ 1 1 

00 1-1 II 



i-l tH III 


More than 
10 years ago. 

I— 1 £^ tH CO I 1 
(M tH I ! 

Within the 
last 10 years. 

O O CO CO 1 I 
^ O 11 





7-1 tH 1-1 III 



lO 00 III 



More than 
10 years ago. 

(M CO tH I I I 


Within the 
last 10 years. 

00 iH III 


Tdudi of an 
animal or 





1^1 Ml 

1— i 

More than 
10 years ago. 

1-1 i-i 1 III 


\v itnin tne 
last 10 years. 

^^1 III 


Touches associated witii Human Beings. 



Cl 00 1 1 
C<1 JO II 



Tt< 00 O III 

— ' 

More than 
10 years ago. 

i^OS 1 1 1 


Within the 
^ last 10 years. 

00 T-l <M CO 1 1 
T-l 0^ 1 i 




lO 1-1 1 1-1 1 1 
T-l r-l 1 II 


oq j III 

More than 
10 years ago. 

lO iH 1 '"'11 

»viinin bue 
last 10 years. 

00 00 1 III 





1-1 rH 1 II 



^11 III 

More than 
10 years ago. 

CD CO 1 ^11 



Within the 
, last 10 years. 

*2 1 III 


03 bD 


if. O 
^ S 



Report on the Census of Hallucinations. [chap. 




H O 

- 5^ 3 
M 2 -S 

I— I H <u 

9 = = S 


00 (M 


t1( o 

CO Ol 
00 ^ 

a u a 




















"2 c3 ^ 


CO £^ 





c 2 c 

S dJ " 




tH O Ol Ol OI tH 


1>. (M 




O rH 
tH (M 



ifcr answering. 


CO ^ 



Yes. j 







O <M 


CO C-l 



,2 ^-S 

03 O > 

t3 C 
ffi 1) O 






Ol t- 

CO 1>- Ol CO Ol 
00 T-H 

Ol I CD iH 05 
O] I 

CO -* 

.2 "3 


CO o 

1^ CO 




1^ Ol 

lO Ol 



tH Ol 

2 S 2P 
.2 "^--S 

c3 O ^ 


O Ol 



1* 05 

CO l-O Ol 1^ lO Ol 
Ol Ol Ol 

^ T-l iH 







,1) ... 




ory (vo( 


• O O OJ -!£ • 

• -kJ • 

m m xn ^ m ^ 

• eg 




CD O O y 

o o 

-i 11111 

<»1 <!i H P 

-aj CD 

O Ol 



2 fi: 
H 2 

. s 


cc H 
_> cS 

^ O' 

c3 C 

m 0) 

3 -t^ 

=3 _ 

S u. 


C 0) 
cS ^ 

r, -4-> 

P o 


General Results. 


50 Report on the Census of Hallucinations. [chap. 


Number of Hallucinations Experienced at Different Ages, 
AND Ages of Informants. 

(Second-hand Cases are Included.) 











J. o tais 

















Over! ted 












Auditory . . . 










Tactile . . . 










All Halluci- 











Number of Infor-^ 
mants of differ- l 








ent present ages. J 

per 1000 of \ 
Informants. J 








Note. — The two last lines of this Table are estimates ; the way in which the 
estimates are obtained is explained on p. 53. The " present ages "of informants means 
their ages at the time they answered the Census question. 

General Explanation of the Tables. 

Explanation of the Headings of Table II. 

In Table II. the first three columns and columns (8) and (9) contain the 
cases which, according to the percij^ients' accounts, appear to have belonged 
to the most completely externalised class — those which look just like human 
beings, animals, or things forming part of the real world. In column (1) we 
include with living persons those who are not known to the percipients to be 
dead, and who have not, in fact, been dead for more than twelve hours. 
In doing so, we have followed the plan adopted in Phantasms of the Living, 
for reasons there explained, and further discussion of the subject will be 
found in Chapter XVII of the present Report. The number of ap- 
paritions thus included of persons who are definitely reported as dead at 
the time is nine, and the number of apparitions of persons who died at or 
near the time their apparition was seen — but about whom it 'cannot be 
affirmed that they were at the moment either living or dead — is 56. Column 
(4) contains visual hallucinations of a less realistic kind, being apparently 
imperfectly developed. They are either shadowy, vague, transparent, or 
colourless ; or they represent; part only of the human form, the rest being 
conspicuously absent (not merely apparently hidden by intervening objects). 
All appearances of a hand, or hand and arm only, 14 in number, are also 


Explanation of Tables. 


placed in this column, as are veiled and shrouded apparitions even when 
quite solid looking. Examples of this class are discussed in connection 
with the development of hallucinations in Chapter VI. By "Visions," which 
occupy column (5), we mean scenes or pictures or sometimes single figures or 
faces, which do not seem to belong to the percipient's actual surroundings. 
For a discussion of this class, see Chapter IV. In columns (6) and (7) are 
apparitions of persons or things which we should not expect to meet with in 
the real world ; for examples, see Chapters VI. and VIII. In column (11) we 
have placed hallucinatory objects which our percipients did not see distinctly 
enough to identify as anything in particular, or could not give a name to. 
With these we have included apjoearances as of smoke and two cases of dark 
shadows between the percipient and the lamp or candle. 

These definitions, of course, apply also to the other Tables relating to 
visual hallucinations. 

Mode of Counting the Hallucinations. 

The total numbers of Table II. do not, of course, correspond with those of 
Table I., because, while Table I. gives the number of persons answering 
*' yes," Table II. gives the number of specified hallucinations, and a large 
number of our informants (see Table III. ) have had more than one hallucina- 
tion, the number they have had varying from two to an indefinitely large 
number. The degree of minuteness with which these are either described or 
enumerated varies very much, and some difiiculty has thus been introduced 
into the tabulation of hallucinations. The plan we have finally adopted is 
as follows : — 

Every experience individually mentioned, described, or enumerated has 
been counted in Table II. in its appropriate line and column. ^ When a 
general description is given of a type of hallucination which has been ex- 
perienced more than once, but the number of occasions on which it occurred 
is not stated definitely, the description is taken for the purposes of Table II. 
as applying to one individual experience. The case is also put down under 
its own head in the Supplement to Table II., the object of which is to give 
such data as there are for a correction of Table II. on account of those 
hallucinations which are mentioned only in a general manner in groups, and 
not enumerated. We have divided these groups into groups of "several" 
and of ' ' many. " Our informants do not, of course, always use the words 
" several " or " many" in their account, but we think that the words they use 
may fairly be classed under these two heads. Thus, expressions like "on 
other occasions," " a few times," " two or thi-ee times," " more than once " 
(or any indefinite number apparently not exceeding 10), are taken as 
equivalent to " several times " ; and " often," "frequently," or any indefinite 
number apparently exceeding 10 {e.g., "almost nightly for about three 
months "), are taken as equivalent to " many times." 

Some examples will make the mode of counting clearer. 

No. 422.22, whose narrative is prmted in Chapter XVII. , saw apparitions 
of a deceased person known to him. He describes four separate occasions, 

1 Hallucinations said to have affected two or more percipients at the same time are 
counted once for each percipient included in the Oensvis. 

E 2 


Report on the Census of Hallucinations. 


but says that there were many others. The collector further informs us that 
he has had other hallucinations. His experiences apjaear, therefore, in Table 
II. as 4 cases of apparitions of a dead person, and in the Supplement to Table 
II. as (a) one case of "many " apparitions of a dead person, and (6) one case 
at second-hand 1 of "several" hallucinations insufficiently described for 

No. 484.22 frequently saw an apparition of his father (then living) 
standing by his study door, with his face looking livid and a dark bruise 
on his left temple. This is counted in Table II. as one case of an appari- 
tion of a living person, and in the Supplement to Table II. as one case of 
" many " such. 

No. 698.23 (see Chapter XVI.) saw many times an apparition of an old 
man with bright blue eyes, di'essed in a black coat and white riding breeches, 
and also saw many times an apparition of a certain deceased person. This 
case is counted in Table II. as («) one unrecognised human apparition and 
(6) one apparition of a dead person, and in the Supplement to Table II. as 
one case of "many " under each of these two heads. 

No. .^5.1 often heard his name called — generally in his mother's voice — 
both before and after her death, sometimes in the voice of other friends. 
This appears in Table II. as (a) one auditory hallucination of the voice of a 
living person and (6) one auditory hallucination of the voice of a dead 
person, and in the Supplement to Table II. as one case of " many " auditory 
hallucinations under each of these two heads. 

The cases of "several " or " many " hallucinations in the Supjjlement to 
Table II. do not include hallucinations repeated once or more at such short 
intervals— one or two days at most — as to suggest that the appearances after 
the first are merely recrudescences of the first. These cases, of which there 
are about 20, are included only in Table II., and there counted each as one 
case, unless there are some special features of difi'erence between the 
diff'erent appearances. Thus No. 340. 19, in which the ijercijjient saw a 
figure in a grey cloak at the end of a lighted passage, and saw it again in the 
passage half an hour later, is counted as one case. In a few of the cases, the 
same figure appears many times at short intervals during the course of one 
or two days. Instances of this, quoted below, are Mr. Beer's experience. 
No. 645.11, in Chapter XII., and Miss M.'s experience. No. 740.9, in 
Chapter XVII. 

The mode of counting hallucinations adopted in Table II. is also used in 
all the tables that follow ; but in Tables IV., V., VI., VII., and VIII. second- 
hand cases are not included, nor the experiences included in column (12) of 
Table II. as " insufficiently described for classification." 

In the Supplement to Table II., and in Tables III., X., and XI., the 
term " visual hallucinations " includes all the cases where some other sense 
than sight was affected at the same time ; the term " auditory hallucination " 
includes only cases where the sense of hearing alone, or of hearing and touch 

' Column (12) in Table II. includes only single cases of hallucinations insufficiently 
described to be classified. When it appears that a percipient has had an indefinite 
number of experiences thus insufficiently described, they are included only in the 
Supplement to Table II. 

Explanation of Tables. 


together, were affected ; and the term "tactile hallucination" includes only 
cases where the sense of touch alone was affected. The total numbers 
given under these heads are, therefore, to be compared with the total 
numbers in columns (14), (15) and (16) of Table II. 

On the other hand, in the Tables relating to hallucinations of each sense 
by itself, viz.. Tables IV., V., VI., VII., and VIII., the term " visual hallucina- 
tion " is used in the same way as just explained, but the auditory Table 
also includes cases where some other sense than that of hearing, and the 
tactile Table cases where some other sense than that of touch, was affected 
at the same time, so that the " bisensory " and "trisensory " hallucinations 
are counted for each sense affected in these Tables, which consequently 
overlap to some extent. 

Explanation of the Estimates in Table XI. 

The periods we have taken (except the last) are each ten years long ; 
thus the heading " 10 to 19 " means 10 years old and upwards, but under 20, 
and so on. As the Census question was only to be put to persons over 21, 
the period headed "20 to 29," as far as the ages of informants are 
concerned, is really a period of nine years, from 21 years of age upwards. 

The last line but one of Table XI. is arrived at by assuming that the 
6,521 informants (1,447 of those who answered "yes," and 5,074 of those 
who answered "no") whose age at the time they answered the Census 
question was stated, either by themselves or by the collector, are fairly 
representative of the 17,000 persons included m the Census, and therefore 
that the number of informants of each age multiplied by gives the 

number of that age for the whole Census. The numbers so multiplied are 
what we give in the line in question. 

The average present age of the 6,521 informants was 40 years, which we 
may assume to be the average present age of all the persons included in the 

The last line of the Table is arrived at by distributing the 769 hallucina- 
tions which occurred at unstated ages proportionately among the different 
age periods and dividing the totals thus obtained by the estimated number 
of persons who have had a chance of experiencing a hallucination within 
that period. The number of possible percipients for any particular period 
is estimated by taking the arithmetic mean between the number of persons 
whose age exceeds the highest age included in the period and the number of 
those who have not yet attained the lowest age included in it. 

54 Re'port on the Census of Hallucinations. [chap. 

Chapter III. 


"We have now to consider how far the proportions of the affirmative 
answers in Table I. and of the different kinds of hallucinations in the 
other tables represent fairly the true proportions in the circles from 
which our information is drawn. 

Several possible sources of error need discussion. 

Possibility of Deception. 

(1) There is first the possibility that some of the affirmative answers 
received have been intentionally deceptive, and some of the accounts 
of hallucinations fictitious. 

This may have occurred occasionally, but it has not, we feel sure, 
occurred to any appreciable extent. The method of collecting was 
calculated to guard against it, both by providing that the question 
should only be put to persons of mature age, (over 21), — who are 
certainly less likely to romance, on the whole, than children, — and also 
that it should be asked through collectors. The answers on Schedule 
A were attested by the name and generally by the signature of the 
informant, and always by that of the collector ; and the collectors 
being, as a rule, if not friends, at least acquaintances of the persons 
asked, would have some means of judging whether they could be relied 
on, while there would also be less likelihood of informants giving an 
untrue answer when it would involve deceiving a friend or acquaint- 
ance, and not merely a stranger. 

If, notwithstanding this, there were deception, the following up of 
the details of the hallucinations would be pretty sure to reveal it. 
Apart from the improbability of deception thus secured, and the 
absence of any motive for it, we think that the general style and 
character of the accounts received are clearly indicative of genuineness. 
The cases quoted in the course of our report will give the reader an 
opportunity of forming an opinion on this point for himself. 

(2) We have been so far discussing the question whether "yes " has 
been untruthfully said for " no," but it is also possible that "no" has been 
untruthfully and deliberately said instead of " yes." We know of eight 
cases in which the collector, rightly or wrongly, concluded, from infor- 
mation received, that this had happened. ^ If these persons ought to 
have answered "yes," they presumably answered "no" because they 

' Two of these eight answers were cut out by the collector. The other six remain 
in our tables as negative answers, since we do not know enough of the details to justify 
us in changing them. 


Refusals to Answer. 


resented being asked, or wished to avoid further questioning, — perhaps 
owing to the presence of others. Of course we cannot assume that we 
have heard of all the cases where " no " has been given instead of 
" yes," especially as the collector would not always suspect it ; but it 
is unlikely that there are many, since it was obviously open to anyone 
either to refuse to give an answer, or to answer " yes," and refuse to 
give details. 

Refusals to Answer the Census Question. 

(3) The next possibility is that those who have refused to answer 
either " yes " or " no " to the Census question may include a materially 
larger or smaller proportion of those who should have said " yes " 
than the proportion of affirmative answers in our Tables. 

We have received information from a good many collectors as to the 
refusals they have met with, the results which they thought were pro- 
duced on their own collections by them, and the motives which they 
thought influenced the refusals. Two or three persons have been dis- 
couraged from collecting altogether on account of refusals to answer, 
and it is very probable that many other refusals have not been reported 
to us at all ; but we think that those reported are most likely fairly 
I'epresentative. In about 51 cases (reported by 19 collectors) the col- 
lector knew, or had reason to think, that the person who refused should 
have answered " yes " ; and in a few of these we know further that the 
refusal arose from the intimate or painful nature of the experience. In 
9 cases (reported by 4 collectors) it was believed that the answer should 
have been "no." In about 16 cases (reported by 8 collectors), 
the collector had no grounds for any opinion as to what the answer 
should have been. 

We have also received some general statements from other 
collectors with regard to refusals to answer. As regards affirmative 
answers, one collector linds great difficulty in persuading people who have 
had experiences to answer "yes," "as they seem to have a great 
horror of being questioned on the subject, or of having their names 
published." Another says, " Many refused on the ground that they 
had seen or heard something." Another "is convinced that those who 
could answer ' yes ' frequently refuse to answer at all." On the other 
hand, the following opinions of collectors seem to indicate the with- 
holding of negative answers. One says "Many objected for trivial reasons." 
Arjother " found it difficult to induce people to interest themselves in the 
subject sufficiently to give their signatui-es." A third concluded, from re- 
marks he overheard about another collector, that "a great many persons 
whose answer would be ' no ' refuse to sign from mere contempt for the 
whole subject, whereas those who have had any experience of the kind, 
however slight, are impressed with the seriousness of the enquiry, and 


Report on the Gens^is of Hallucinations. [chap. 

moFe ready to take the trouble to enter their names." A fourth says 
"Most of my acquaintance object to even writing 'no.'" A fifth 
finds " some people strangely reluctant to sign anything." Another 
writes : " Several people have declined to answer, for they said they 
could not feel sure whether they had seen something or not." Another 
found that " there were two classes of people who ridiculed the idea ; 
namely, those who read little or nothing outside newspapers . . . 
and also Spiritualists, who seemed to take it as a deliberate insult." ^ 

The Committee have themselves met with 9 persons who refused 
to answer, out of 594 asked. In two of these cases the collector felt no 
doubt that the answer should have been "yes," and they have accor- 
dingly been counted as undescribed affirmative answers. In four cases 
the collector was doubtful what the answer should be, and in the 
remaining three it was nearly certain that it should have been "no." 
It may be instructive to examine the last seven in more detail. Of one 
nothing is known, but the collector gathered from the manner of the 
person asked that he had had some psychical experience, though it may 
not have been a hallucination. One person asked to take the paper 
away with him, promising to think it over and send in his answer 
later ; this never came, in spite of reminders, and the collector thought 
that the evasion probably arose from an unwillingness to give details. 
Another similarly evaded a direct reply, apparently from a general 
aversion to the subject. A fourth was not sure whether what she had 
seen — two vague white figures in a garden at night — was an apparition 
or real persons. Of the three persons who, the collector thought, should 
have answered " no," one referred to a childish experience which he is 
now sure was not hallucinatory, though he thought differently at the 
time, and the other two thought that all the enquiries of the S.P.R. 
tended to foster superstition, and therefore would have nothing to do 
with any of them. 

Besides the reasons for refusals to answer already mentioned, the 
idea that sensory hallucinations are symptoms of insanity and a con- 
sequent shrinking from mentioning them have probably operated to 
some slight extent. This has been mentioned to us as one of the 
obstacles met with by two persons in collecting. Neither of these, 
however, sent in any returns. 

It will be seen that it is very difficult or impossible to make a 
numerical estimate of the total error that has been introduced into 

' This is the only instance reported to us of a collector who has found any dif- 
ficulty in working among Spiritualists, though several persons expressed to us before- 
hand their fear that Spiritualists and others who believed their experiences to be 
veridical would be repelled by the terms used in our schedules— especially the use of 
the word " hallucination." As a matter of fact, many Spiritualists have been included 
in the Census, and several — notably Mr. Aksak off— have assisted us as collectors- 


Danger of Selection. 


our statistics by refusals to answer. But the small proportion of 
refusals experienced by the Committee, together with the conflicting 
reasons for refusals reported by other collectors, lead us to believe 
that this error is not very important. So far as it goes, it 
probably tends to reduce unduly, but only to a small extent, the pro- 
portion of affirmative answers, and especially those relating to ex- 
periences which affect the percipient emotionally, such as phantasms of 
dead and dying persons closely connected with him, and religious 

Danger of Selectio7i. 

(4) Another cause of eri'or requiring careful consideration lies in 
the possibility that the collector may have selected the persons to be 
asked according to what they were likely to say, either through his 
greater interest in obtaining one form of answer rather than another, 
or on some other ground. We adopted two precautions with a view to 
avoiding this particular source of error. First, we printed instructions 
to collectors on this point (see Apjyendix A). Secondly, we did not 
receive isolated answers, but asked for 25.^ To collect 25 answers is 
a sufficiently difficult task to make collectors unwilling, as a 
rule, to neglect opportunities of obtaining any of either sort. We 
believe that most of our collectors have understood the importance of 
avoiding any kind of selection, and in many cases we have definite 
evidence, through our correspondence with them, that this is so. Still, 
we have evidence of some selection. In fact, 13 collectors — out of 
410 — have used expressions which have made us think that they, or 
friends collecting for them, had allowed themselves to be biassed by 
a desire to obtain affirmative answers, as being more interesting. 
Between them, they collected 898 answers, of which 14 per cent, were 
affirmative ; so that, as the average proportion is 9-9 per cent., they 
would seem to have had some success in this illegitimate endeavour, 
though not enough to affect materially the total result. 

On the other hand, some affirmative answers which would naturally 
have come in have been omitted. Thus, four collectors whom we know 
to have had hallucinatory experiences, or experiences which at one time 
they believed to be so, have omitted to put down their own answers in 
their lists, and in one case, a collector, who thought his proportion of 
affirmative answers was getting too large, abstained from asking some 
persons who, he thought, would answer " yes." 

On the whole, we should conclude from our communications with 
collectors, and our examination of their returns that, while pursuit of 
affirmative answers has certainly taken place to some extent, its 

' A few of onr collectors have not sent in the full 25, but have probably at least 
made an effort to do so. 

58 Report on the Census of Hallucinations. [chap. 

operation has been too limited to cause any considerable increase in 
the general proportion of affirmative to negative answers. But to 
obtain greater certainty on this point, we adopted two methods of 
checking the general result. 

(a) With a view to judging whether selection were exercised, we asked 
collectors, in our instructions, to mark the names of persons in their 
lists whose answers they could have foretold. Unfortunately, all our 
collectors have not attended to this instruction, and the check thus 
afforded would have been in any case only partial, because previous 
knowledge of an answer would, of course, be no proof that it was 
selected ; the person giving it might be one whom the collector would 
naturally ask in any case.i 

(6) A more efficient means of judging of the combined effects of selec- 
tion and refusals to answer was obtained by means of answers from 
complete groups of persons, the groups being defined in some way quite 
unconnected with the investigation. Thus all the members of a house- 
hold, including servants, would form such a group, or all the members 
of a committee (not formed for purposes of psychical research), or all 
the persons present at a dinner party, or all the persons who happened 
to be together in a room at a given time. Groups of this kind will 
obviously be entirely unselected in respect of experience of hallucina- 
tions, and they also cannot be affected by refusals to answer, since such 
a refusal from any one pe^'Son would simply exclude the whole group as 
incomplete. A comparison of the answers obtained from these groups 
with the whole number of answers gives, therefore, a means of judging 
how far the proportion of affirmative to negative answers has been 
affected on the whole by these two sources of error. The answers of 
peisons included in these groups, classified as in Tables I. and II., but 
with less detail, are shown in Division A of Table X. above. 
They are not so numerous as we could have wished, but this mode 
of collecting is rather troublesome, and not very easy to explain to 
collectors by correspondence, and the Committee have had to rely on 
themselves for a large part of this division. 

In Table X. we also show (in Division B) all the answers collected 
by members of the Committee and (in Division C) the answers collected 
by persons who have had systematic training in medicine or psychology, 
whose collections have been kept distinct in accordance with a desire 
strongly expressed at the Paris International Congress of Experimental 
Psychology. It was in order to make this portion of the collection as large 
as possible, that Professor Sidgwick made his special appeal for the 
co-operation of psychologists in Mind, of October, 1889. Speaking 

' Nor would comparison of the number of marked " yeses " and marked " noes " help 
us, since a collector could hardly ever be sure that any answer would be negative. 


Danger of Selection. 


broadly, we may presume that these specially trained collectors were 
specially on their guard against any tendency to selection. 

Division B of Table X., collected by the Committee, is perhaps of 
less interest to others than to ourselves ; but we are, of course, in a 
position to make more positive statements about these answers than 
about other parts of the collection. We are certain, as regards this 
set of answers, that they are unselected, either as to the kind of 
answers, or the kind of hallucinations, included. We believe also that 
errors due to hasty and insufficiently considered answers, and to neglect 
of trivial cases, occur less among the answers collected by the Com- 
mittee than in the average of the whole collection. 

In using the results of these special sets of answers to control 
the results of our general collection, comparison ought to be made 
with that pai"t of the general collection — neai-ly 16,000 — which was 
obtained from English-speaking persons (see Table IX.), since it was 
from these that all the answers in Table X., except 3 per cent, of 
Division 0, were obtained. 

On making this comparison, it will be seen that the percentages of 
affirmative answers in Table X. are throughout above the average. 
It may therefore be inferred that the operation of selection in 
increasing affirmative answers in the general collection must have been 
more than counterbalanced by some other cause. A comparison in 
more detail between the special sets of answers and the general 
collection shows that the percentage of visual experiences, though on 
the whole higher in the special sets of answers, cannot be said to differ 
in any very marked degree from the general average, and in the set 
collected by the Committee is almost identical with it ; so that the 
trustworthiness as regards the number of visual experiences of the 
collection in general receives decided confirmation from the special sets 
of answers. On the other hand, the proportion of a^iditory and 
tactile experiences is, in the special sets A and B, double that in the 
whole collection. This we believe, however, to be mainly due to 
another source of error which will be considered below : viz., that 
auditory and tactile experiences are apt to be trivial and unimpres- 
sive, and thus easily forgotten or ignored, unless special care is taken 
in enquiring about them. 

Proportion of Collectors tvho have had Hallucinations. 

(5) Before leaving the subject of selection, it may be well to 
discuss another form of it. It has been suggested that persons who 
have had experiences of their own, or whose intimate friends have had 
them, would thereby be led to take an interest in the subject, and con- 
sequently to serve as collectors ; and that this natural selection of collec- 
tors would lead to our collection being made in circles in which there is a 


Report on the Census of Hallucinations. [chap. 

greater tendency to hallucinations than among the average of man- 
kind. This predicted selection of collectors has perhaps operated to a 
certain extent, for of the 326 collectors^ whose answers are included 
in the Census, either in their own lists or in those of other collectors, 
68, or about 21 per cent., answered "yes." Moreover, it is probably 
true that a tendency to hallucinations sometimes runs in families, ^ and 
also that a habit of attaching importance to them either fosters 
a tendency to them, or brings persons who have the tendency together. 
A collector who himself answered " yes " might therefore possibly be 
apt to obtain more affirmative answers than one who himself answered 
" no." But the whole effect thus produced can only have been small, 
and for evidence tending to show that it is practically unimportant we 
may refer again to Table X., — since only one member of the Com- 
mittee can answer the Census question in the affirmative, and that one 
only on account of a trivial and uninteresting tactile experience ; nor 
has the interest of its members in the subject been fostered by the ex- 
periences of their i^elatives and friends, so that division B is free from 
suspicion of the source of error here discussed. 

(6) So far we have considered sources of error in our statistics which, 
though feared or suspected, appear either to have had no material 
eifect, or to have counteracted each other. The case is very different 
as regards that now to be considered— namely, forgetfulness. This may 
be of two kinds. 

Superficial Forgetfulness. 

There is first the temporary forgetfulness which comes from 
mere carelessness or want of sufficient thought, with which may 
be classed a neglect to answer affirmatively arising from the view 
that certain experiences were too trivial to be worth mentioning. 
It may be instructive to quote some of the opinions expressed by 
collectors as to the effect of this kind of foi-getfulness on the 
statistics. One says " it is rather common for a person to answer ' no ' 
at once ; while if you go on speaking to them a little, they will say 
' I once had a queer sort of experience, but it is not worth relating.' 
Then if you press them, you may find it is just the sort of thing which 
you are asking about." Another remarked that most people hesitated 
before they could say " no," only those who were apparently not 
inclined to very deep thought gave a decided negative. A third says 
" one difficulty is that many entirely forget anything of the kind and it 
is only by an effort and often after some time that they can recall them." 

1 The remaining 84 collectors gave no answer, or at least we have failed to trace 
their answers among the 17iOOO. 

2 For evidence on this question afforded by the present collection, see 
Chapter VIII. 




Two others find that people often say " no " at first and then change to 
"yes" when they go on talking and explaining to them what is wanted. 
Two others think that trivial experiences,such as hearing voices, are very 
common and perhaps not always included. Another, who has collected 
accounts of supernormal occurrences for many years, is persuaded that 
the answer should often be " yes " when it is put down as " no " — much 
oftener than the reverse. 

The following is a description of his methods and conclusions given 
by another collector, who has had special opportunities of making the 
enquiry in an important Government office : — 

" I have had 225 answers in all from two different offices, 125 from one, 
and 100 from the other. In each case I went round the office asking every- 
body of the required age, without selection, until I had completed the 
required number. . . . Out of the 125, I have 17 ' yeses,' one doubtful. 

"In the other office, out of 100,1 have only eight ' yeses,' and of these one 
is a 'non-Census' 'yes,' and two others seem doubtful cases. I am 
unable to account satisfactorily for the smaller proportion here. The 
men belong almost entirely to what is called the Second Division of the 
Civil Service — i.e., they entered by a very simple competitive examination, 
and are mostly below the standard of University education. 

' ' I am not so well known in the office as in my own — not known even by 
sight to many of the men — and it is possible that these men may have been 
less careful to answer the question of a stranger. Again, I think it possible 
that fear of ridicule may have withheld some from answering 'yes.' Neither 
cause would be likely to lose us any very striking hallucinations ; but both, I 
think, may have operated to exclude some auditory and tactile cases. I am 
convinced, from the result of the enquiry, that to answer the question fully 
requires a pretty careful and prolonged interrogation of memory : a task 
which my questionees were in most cases probably unwilling to undertake. 
Some asked to keep the paper, and sent in their reply a day after. But 
this source of error (which would only exclude unimportant ' yeses ') has 
probably affected my answers less than those of other collectors. The ques- 
tion was in all cases asked personally, and an interval of about five minutes 
left for reply. (My plan was to come into a room, distribute a Census paper 
to each of four or five persons, and then go round and talk and answer ques- 
tions until one or other was ready with his answer. ) In very few cases did a 
man reply ' no ' at once. 

' ' Still, I feel almost sure that if I could have discussed the matter for 
20 mmutes with each individual, I should have had a larger proportion of 

' yeses.' For instance, wrote ' no ' first, and some ten minutes later, 

in a discussion on the general subject, mentioned his experiences, ' which, of 
course, were only the result of dyspepsia,and not worth putting down. ' I think, 
therefore, that though the present collection may perhaps be more accurate 
than that of the average collector — not only from absence of selection, but 
from the exceptional facilities which I had for securing the attention of 
my questionees (the subject being regarded as a welcome relief to the 
monotony of office work, and the men having no other occupation, beyond 


Rejjort on the Census of Hallucinations. [chap. 

the work aforesaid, to distract them) — it is still by no means complete as 
regards the less impressive experiences." 

It will be noticed that almost all the collectors quoted believe that it is 
the trivial experiences — auditory and tactile ones generally — which 
have been ignored. That these should be the ones ignored, one would 
naturally expect, since trivial experiences, — e.g., hearing one's name 
called from a distance when no one is calling, — often make little 
impression, because, from their nature, they are apt to leave the pei'- 
cipient himself in doubt as to whether they are really hallucinatory, or 
only misinterpretations of real sounds. 

The correctness of the view that trivial auditory and tactile expe- 
riences have been a good deal ignored is confirmed, we think, by 
Table X. The Committee have been careful as far as possible to pre- 
vent the ignoring of these experiences in their own collection, and it 
is probably owing to this that they have obtained so high a percentage 
compai-ed with the average. If we may judge from Talkie X., it would 
appear that, roughly speaking, the inclusion of unimpressive auditory 
and tactile experiences which have been neglected in the whole col- 
lection, would have about doubled the number of auditory and tactile 
experiences recorded : while the same comparison would show that no 
material loss of this kind has occurred in visual experiences. 

Permanent Forgetfulness. 

But there is a more serious and complete oblivion which no care or 
thought will ovei'come — the forgetfulness which in course of time effaces 
some experiences from the mind altogether — at least so far as conscious 
memory is concerned. This kind of forgetfulness will affect the work 
of all collectors, and the answers of all groups of informants, alike, and 
cannot be checked by the special collections shown in Table X. We 
must, therefore, adopt some other method for estimating the extent of 
its operation. 

In considering this question we will confine our attention, in the 
first instance, to visual hallucinations ; the record of which, as we 
have just seen, is not materially affected by any of the sources of 
error so far considered ; while, as will hereafter appear, they are of 
special importance in estimating the evidence for telepathy. 

In order to judge of the effect of lapse of time on the number of visual 
hallucinations reported to us, and to discover, as far as is possible from 
the reported number, what the true number should be, we have in 
Table IV. divided the reported number according to the length of 
years that had in each case elapsed since the occurrence, when the 
percipient answered the Census question. 

As all our informants are over 20 years of age, they have all had 
more than 10 years in which to experience hallucinations. If there- 




fore they were sufficiently numerous for accidental variations to be 
eliminated, and if hallucinations occurred with equal frequency at all 
ages, the same number would have occurred to our informants during 
each of the last 10 years. But an inspection of Table IV. at once shows 
that this is not the case with those reported. On the contrary, they ex- 
hibit a more or less systematic variation ; the number for the most recent 
year being comparatively very large, the annual number decreasing 
rapidly at first as the years become more remote, and, when we reach 
8, 9 and 10 years ago, being less than half what it is at first. This 
variation is fa,r too systematic to be accounted for by accident, and any 
error in our assumption that hallucinations are equally numerous at all 
ages will affect the number occurring annually but little, if at all, being 
neutralised by the variety in the ages of our informants. It is clear, 
therefore, that as the years recede into the distance the proportion of 
the hallucinations that occurred in them to those which are forgotten, 
or at least ignored, is very large. 

If we could assume that the number reported for the most recent 
year was correct — that memory has been trustworthy for a year — we 
could infer the total number from it by multiplying it by the mean 
number of years during which our informants have lived. But when 
we analyse the experiences reported for the last year, we find the 
difference between the recent and remote portions of it even more 
marked than that between the last year and 10 years ago. Out of 
the 87 visual hallucinations reported for the last year, 42 are 
stated to have occurred within the most recent quarter, and of these 
19 within the most recent month, and 12 within the most recent 
half -month ; numbers which correspond approximately to 168, 
228, and 288 per annum instead of 87. This kind of difference 
extends through all classes of visual hallucinations (though it is less in 
degree in some than in others), and this confirms the view that it 
cannot be accidental. At the same time we have now come to sub- 
divisions too small for us to rely on the exact numbers, not only 
because the numbers are too small for accidental variations to be 
eliminated, but because any error in them is very largely multiplied 
in the fin^l result.^ If, therefore, we are to infer the whole number 
of hallucinations from the number within a given recent period, it is 
a matter of some difficulty to determine what the length of the recent 

1 Suppose, for instance, that we wish to infer from the number within the 
most recent half-month how many occurred altogether. Then, since the average 
age of our informants is 40 years (see p. 53) we must multiply 12 — the 
number within the half-month — by 24 times 40, which makes 11,520. But if 
there has been a mistake, and one of those said to have occurred v\dthin the 
half-month occurred IG days ago, then the whole number would be reduced 
by xV or 960. 

64< Report on the Census of Hallucinations. [chap. 

period should be : since, if it is too long, the numbers are reduced by 
forgetfulness ; while if it is too short, we are liable to largely magni- 
fied errors in the result. 

In deciding on the period, we have been influenced by another 
consideration — viz., that oblivion appears to have specially affected 
doubtful hallucinations, or alleged hallucinations eri'oneously regarded 
as such. 

"We are led to this view by examining the 42 cases in the most 
recent quarter individually, and observing how many exhibit certain 
specified and easily defined characteristics suggestive of possible mistake 
as to their hallucinatory nature. 

We find that («) in 7 cases, 4 of them in the most recent half- 
month, the figure was seen at some distance, either out of doors, or in 
a public room — circumstances which make a mistake of identity not 

Again (6) in 2 cases, both within the most recent half -month, the 
figure was seen passing outside the door of the room in which the 
percipient was, or was seen inside the room as the percipient passed 
the door— circumstances which allow of only a momentary view, and 
suggest illusion as an explanation. 

Thirdly (c) in 3 cases, of which one occurred within the most 
recent half-month, the light was bad and the circumstances not such as 
on other grounds to exclude the possibility of mistakes. 

Thus altogether 12 cases out of the 42 must on the specified grounds 
be regarded as doubtfully hallucinatory. "We will call these " the 
suspicious cases." If we omit them, we get 30 as the number in the 
most recent quarter, 1 2 in the most recent month, and 5 in the most 
recent half-month ; numbers which correspond to 120, 144, and 120 
per annum respectively. From the approximate agreement of these 
numbers we infer that, apart from the suspicious cases, there was no 
material forgetfulness within three months ; and we think that this 
period is not too short to be used as a basis for an approximate 
estimate of the whole number of hallucinations that actually occur. 
To be on the safe side, let us take 140 as the number of visual 
hallucinations that occur annually, omitting the suspicious cases. 

1 In one of the 7 cases, the figure was unrecognised, and the proof of its 
being hallucinatory was merely its unexplained disappearance while the per- 
cipient was looking away. A similar mysterious disappearance either behind an 
obstacle, or while the percipient was not looking, occurred in 3 out of the 6 
recognised cases, but the evidence in such cases that a real person could not thus 
have been lost sight of can seldom be made strong. It is worth noting that in 
at least 4 of the (5 recognised cases the percipient was expecting the person he 
believed he saw, which would tend to make him accept too uncritically the impression 
that he saw him. 




In estimating the whole number, it is convenient to limit our- 
selves to those which occurred since the age of 10 years, be- 
cause memory is undoubtedly comparatively untrustworthy at very 
early ages, and hallucinations must be assumed to share the oblivion 
which overtakes most of the events of our earliest years ; moreover, 
the power of distinguishing hallucinations from real objects is probably 
undeveloped in small children. Now our informants have on an average 
lived for 30 years since they were 10 years old, so that the number of 
visual hallucinations they will have experienced since that age, at the 
rate of 140 Tpev annum, is 4,200. But the whole number they have 
reported is 1,112, and of these we infer from Table XI. that a little 
over 8 per cent., or about 90, occurred under tlie age of 10.^ De- 
ducting these, we are left with 1,022, which we may take as roughly 
about one-fourth of the 4,200 which we estimate as the true number. 
We arrive at the conclusion, then, that, roughly speaking, the number 
of visual hallucinations reported must be multiplied by four to arrive 
at the true number experienced over the age of 10, omitting the sus- 
picious cases of the specified types ; and we propose to adopt this 
estimate in dealing with the theory of chance coincidence in Chapter 

At the same time, it is, of course, improbable that none of the 
suspicious cases were genuine hallucinations ; and, though other so- 
called hallucinations not included in our limited class of suspicious 
cases may not be genuine, it is perhaps unsafe to assume that the 
suspicious cases afford a true measui'e of the number of experiences 
mistakenly regarded as hallucinatory. If we include the suspicious 
cases, we shall obtain an outside estimate by calculating the whole 
number of visual hallucinations on the basis of the number reported 
\vithin the most recent month. We thus get 6,840 as the whole number, 
which is equal to about 6i times the reported number. We may 
assume that the truth lies somewhere between the two limits thus 
found, and nearer to the lower limit than the higher ; but, with the 
data at our disposal, it does not seem possible to arrive at a more 
accurate estimate. 

It is worthy of remark that experiences of which the hallucinatory 
character is open to doubt on the grounds we have named, are reported 
in a much larger proportion for the most recent year than for more 
remote periods. Thus, among the particular class of realistic apparitions 
of li^^ng persons which furnishes the largest proportion of such sus- 
picious cases, we find them distributed as follows over the last 10 
years. The first column gives the number of suspicious cases, and the 

1 We infer this number, instead of counting it, because in some cases, even when 
dated, the age of the percipient is not given. 


66 Report on the Census of Hallncinations. [chap. 

second the whole nixmber of realistic apparitions of living 
corresponding to the first line of Table IV. 

In the most recent quarter . . . • ^ 
In the previous 3 quarters of the most 

recent year 
Over 1 year but not over 2 
2 years 





1J. 1 


1 Ok 





1 Fi 













Totals during most recent 10 years . 

The falling-off of reports of such doubtful hallucinations after a short 
time shows that they are apt to be less impressive than more clearly hal- 
lucinatory experiences. Either they are for this reason more quickly 
forgotten, or else a suspicion, often felt by the percipient from the first, 
that what he saw was a real person or thing, becomes intensified as the 
first impi'ession of the oddness of what has occurred wears off. The pre- 
valence of this type of experience among the recent cases partly 
accounts for the disproportionately large number of recent cases, 
especially among recognised apparitions of the living. 

We shall deal more briefly with the case of auditory and tactile 
hallucinations. Of the auditory hallucinations reported, 65 occurred 
within the last year, and of the tactile, 21. The proportion of these 
numbers to the total numbers reported (494 and 179 respectively), and to 
the numbers within the most i-ecent ten years (see Tables VII. and 
VIII.) shows that the forgetfulness of auditory and tactile hallucinations 
is more rapid than that of visual cases, so that a considerably larger 
correcting factor would be required. But the, in general, less careful 
reports of the auditory and tactile cases, as well as the smaller 
numbers we have to deal with, make any calculations respecting them 
less reliable, and it seems hardly worth while to go into further detail ; 
especially as we should further have to take into account the operation 
of what we have called " superficial " forgetfulness (see p. 60). 

Our readers may be inclined to ask what precise value is to be 
attached to the statistics in our tables, if so large a correction has to be 

1 These numbers each indude a " collective " case in which the experiences of the 
two percipients concerned are counted separately (see p. 51, foot-note). 

-This number includes a "collective" case, in which the experiences of the three 
percipients concerned are counted separately. 




made for forgetfulness. To fhis the answer is twofold. In the first 
place, they furnish a fairly accurate record of the number of hallucina- 
tions which are remembered — i.e., of those which are either recent or 
have strongly impressed the percipient — and of the proportion in which 
these remembered hallucinations are divided under the various heads. 
In the second place, they give us the means of comparing the number 
and the impressiveness of dififerent kinds of hallucinations. 

We can tell, for instance, from Table IV. that apparitions of the 
dead are better remembered than apparitions of the living, because 
more in proportion of the former than of the latter are reported for the 
period more than ten years distant. And this being so, we may infer 
further that the memory correction for apparitions of the dead should 
be somewhat below the average, while that for apparitions of the living 
should be slightly above it. The comparatively small number of 
apparitions of the dead reported in our Census may therefore be taken 
to correspond to the facts, not only as regards hallucinations remembered, 
but as regards hallucinations experienced. We may also infer that the 
more rapid forgetfulness of apparitions of the living depends mainly 
on the inclusion among them of trivial cases ; for if we omit the 36 
suspicious cases enumerated above for the most recent ten years — 
diminishing in number as the years become more remote — we find that 
the proportion of apparitions in the most recent ten years to those that 
occurred more than ten years ago is almost exactly the same for 
apparitions of the living and of the dead respectively. 

There is one natural inference from Table IV. against which we 
must guard, viz., that the small class of "Grotesque" apparitions is 
better remembered than any other. For here the disproportionately 
large number of remote cases is in the main due to hallucinations of this 
class being to a large extent experienced by children. Of the 33 
reported, 14 occurred not only to children, but to children under 11 
years old, and, owing to the limit of age fixed for informants, all 
hallucinations experienced under 11 years old belong to the remote 

Passing to Table VII , we may obsei've that hallucinations of the 
voices of dead persons are somewhat better remembered than other 
vocal hallucinations. 

Turning from the form of the hallucination to the conditions of 
perception, we infer on the same principle from Table VI. that 
apparitions seen when the percipient is fully awake in bed are 
somewhat better remembered than those seen when he is up. 
It seems likely that the freedom from external distraction, which 
we conjecture to be one reason why lying in bed is favourable to 
hallucinations (see Chapter IX.), also leads to their being better remem- 
bered. It is also worth noticing that there are probably fewer oppor- 

F 2 

68 Report on the Census of Hallucinations. [chap. 

tunities for a I'eal person to be mistaken for a hallucination under 
these circumstances than when the percipient is up ; and any suspicion 
of a possible mistake probably tends, as we have said, to diminish the 
impressiveness of an experience. 

Hallucinations of the most impressive class will not only be better 
remembered than others, but will, we may reasonably suppose, be 
more often mentioned by the percipients to their friends. There is 
some interest therefore in trying to ascertain what kinds are 
most talked about and seeing how far these are also those shown 
by the tables to be the best remembered. So far as there is agree- 
ment, the inference as to impressiveness drawn fi'om the tables will 
receive confirmation. 

Now it is, of course, the kinds most talked about that will be 
most often known beforehand to our collectors ; and though our 
instruction to mai'k the answers previously known to them has not, 
as we have already remai'kcd, been completely carried out, still the 
marking that has been done gives us important information on the 
subject. Analysing the affirmative answers which are stated, by 
marking or otherwise, to have been previously known to the collectors, 
we find that of the reported realistic apparitions of dead persons 14 per 
cent, were known ; of similar apparitions of living persons 1 1 per cent. ; 
of all other kinds of visual hallucinations 10"5 per cent. ; of auditory 
hallucinations 6 per cent. ; and of tactile hallucinations 6 per cent.^ 
The actual numbers are not to be taken as accurate, because we have 
not got complete information as to previous knowledge. But there is 
no reason to think that further information would affect the order of 
interest, and therefore of impressiveness, thus indicated ; and this, as 
regards the superior impressiveness of visual hallucinations over 
auditory and tactile ones, and among visual ones, of apparitions of the 
dead, is the same as the order of impressiveness indicated by amount 
of recollection. 

Possible Omission of Ilalhicinations xmder the age of 21. 

(7) A seventh source of error in the statistics has to be mentioned. 
We have reason to believe that some of our collectors and informants 
— probably not many — interpreted the instruction not to receive 
answers from persons under 21 to mean that we wished to exclude hal- 
lucinations that occurred when the percipient was under that age. If this 
error had been at all widespread, it might have seriously reduced the 

1 In 4 cases of affirmative answers stated to have been known beforehand, no 
details are given, and 29 others belong to experiences of kinds not included in the 
•Census, about 6 per cent, of these being thus stated to have been previously known. 


Trustworthiness of Results. 


number of affirmative answers as regards youthful experiences.^ Owing 
to the age of our informants, however, it cannot practically have affected 
the most recent month or quarter, which has afforded the basis for our 
estimate of the whole number of hallucinations, and therefore its 
effect will be merged in that of forgetfulness, and the correction applied 
for the latter will cover both. 

Summary of Chapter. 

Summing up now the results of this investigation into the trust- 
worthiness of our statistics, we find that, out of seven sources of error 
which we have thought of and discussed, five have had on the whole 
no appreciable effect. The sixth, however (namely, forgetfulness), 
possibly in combination with the seventh, has had a very large effect 
indeed, larger probably than most people would expect. We estimate 
that, in order to arrive at the true number of visual hallucinations 
experienced by our informants since the age of 10, the reported 
number must be multiplied by some number between 4 and 6J, 
and that, in the case of auditory and tactile hallucinations, a still 
larger correction would be needful. 

Note. — The accounts of their experiences given by our informants 
are for the most part written on copies of Schedule B (see Appendix 
A) in answer to the specific questions there asked, and only exception- 
ally in an ordinary narrative form. The accounts quoted are verbatim 
reproductions of those given by the percipients, any changes or inter- 
polations — required to bring them into a narrative form — being 
indicated by the use of square brackets. 

1 This may partly account for the small proportion of hallucinations at early ages 
shown by Table XI. We shall recur to the subject of youthful hallucinations later (see 
Chapter VIII). 


Report on the Census of Hallucinations. [chap. 

Chapter IV. 


In the discussion which occupies this and the following seven 
chapters, we shall not distinguish between veridical and merely 
subjective hallucinations. The discussion of veridical cases as such is 
deferred to Chapters XII. et seq. Further, we shall discuss chiefly 
hallucinations aiJecting the sense of sight, as, besides being the 
most numerous, they show much more variety than auditory or 
tactile hallucinations, and what has to be said about hallucina- 
tions in general can, therefore, usually be best illustrated from 
this class. 

In this and in the next chapter we shall be mainly engaged in 
explaining, and illustrating from the cases in our Census, the most 
important lines of distinction between sensory hallucinations and other 
phenomena with which they are liable to be confounded. These other 
phenomena may be divided into four classes. 

1. Ordinary sense-perceptions : 

2. Dreams : 

3. Mental images recognised as such, including what are hereafter 
called "pseudo-hallucinations : " 

4. Illusions. 

Under the first two heads there is not much that needs to be said. 

(1) We follow the authors of Phantasms of the Living,^ in distin- 
guishing sensory hallucinations from ordinary sense-perceptions — as well 
as from ordinary mental images — by the characteristic that the halluci- 
natory percept - " lacks, but can only by distinct reflection be recognised 
as lacking, the objective basis that it suggests." In most cases the 
application of the distinction is simple and obvious : but occasionally 
the process of subsequent reflection, by which a percipient convinces 
himself of the lack of objective basis, is of doubtful certainty : as (e.g.) 
when a figure seen at some distance out of doors is inferred to have 
been hallucinatoi-y because it disappeared in what the percipient 
regards as an inexplicable manner. We have already had occasion to 
notice this soui'ce of uncertainty in speaking of " suspicious cases " in 

1 Vol. I., Chapter X., page 459. 

-We have allowed ourselves, for convenience, to use the term "hallucination" 
sometimes for the experience of apparently perceiving a physical fact that is not 
really presented, sometimes for the object apparently perceived ; for the latter use, 
hovirever, we have, to prevent confusion, occasionally substituted the term " halluci- 
natory object" or " percept." 

rv.] Hallucinations and Pseivdo-Hallucinations. 71 

the preceding chapter ; and we shall give further illustrations of it in 
the one that follows. 

(2) The distinction between dreams and sensory hallucinations is 
different. In a wide sense of the term, indeed, dreams of the sensoi'y 
sort may be regarded as " pure cases of hallucination " ^ : since the 
dream-perceptions, like waking hallucinations, are at the time believed 
to have an objective basis, which they really lack. But in this Census 
we have confined ourselves to hallucinations in the ordinary sense, dis- 
tinguished from dreams by occurring in the waking state. Ordinarily, 
of course, this distinction is quite clear : each person's dream-scenes 
are separated from our common physical world by an unmistakable 
chasm, which he ci'osses in the conscious transition from sleep to 
waking. There are, however, a small number of exceptional cases in 
which we have found some difficulty in drawing the line. Thus — as 
was stated in Chapter II., p. 36 — we have, in seven answers, had 
reports of dream-images and nightmares persisting into the waking 
state, and, in twenty-one answers, of voices, or touches, rousing the 
percipient from sleep ; which we, after consideration, decided to exclude 
from the Census, as belonging to the phenomena of sleep. On the 
other hand, we have included a small number of hallucinatory 
experiences at the moment of waking which were — manifestly or pro- 
bably — connected with antecedent dreams ; either because there was 
a distinct difference in nature between the sleeping and the waking 
phenomenon, or because the dream-image persisted under conditions 
of marked waking activity. Of the three instances that follow, the 
first exemplifies the excluded cases, while the second and third are 
specimens of those included. 

(257. 3.) 2 From Miss M. H. M. 

February, 1890. 

" About fifteen years ago, .... I had gone to sleep without 
knowing it, a fire burning opposite the foot of my bed. Thinking I was 
awake, I thought I saw standing before my fire, at the right hand side, 
looking into it, with her back turned to me, so that I could not see her face, 
an elderly woman, rather stout, and dressed like an old-fashioned nurse or 
housekeeper, in a black cap tied close round the ears, and a large-checked 
shawl. The check was about four inches square, and black, pink, white and 
grey, the pink squares being specially distinct. Wondering what she 
was doing there, I sat up in bed to look at her, and the action of doing so 
woke me. I was fully conscious of suddenly waking, fully conscious that 

1 Phantasms of the Living, Vol. I., p. 460. 

" The numbers in brackets at the beginning of the cases indicate their place in 
the collection. 

72 Report on the Gensus of Hallucinations. [chap. 

I had been asleep, and had awoken with a shock, yet I still saw the woman dis- 
tinctly, with my eyes open and wide awake. She faded gradually. My heart 
beat for a moment ; but I thought it was only the impression of a dream still 
remaining in my brain that appeared to be seen with my eyes. So I lay 
down and went to sleep again, and saw no more." 

(733. 5.) From Mrs. S. 

March 2Wi, 1892. 

" I once dreamed that a large black butterfly was hovering over my 
husband as he lay in bed. I awoke and saw, by the aid of the nightlight, 
the butterfly of my dream lluttering over him. I called the servant and 
together we tried to kill it. I struck at it with my handkerchief and 
apparently succeeded in my object, but all our endeavours to find the body 
of the insect failed. The doors and windows were all closed and it could 
not have escaped. It was very large and could not have remained invisible. 
The black woman saw the butterfly as I did, till I struck at it. We are of 
opinion, as we searched so carefully, that it was merely hallucinatory." 

(We need not here discuss the alleged sharing of the hallucination by 
the black woman, of which we only know at second-hand. Shared or 
" collective " hallucinations are treated of in Chapter XV.) 

With regard to the form taken by the hallucination, the collector. 
Professor Alexander, writes : — 

' ' According to a superstition widely spread in Brazil the black butterfly 
is supposed to be a sign of death. I have heard several tales similar to the 
account given [here] that tend to show that hallucinations are often 
shaped by popular beliefs." 

(729. 17.) From Dr. J. P. 

February 20th, 1892. 

' ' I woke one night hearing the words, ' John, don't you know me 1 ' I 
opened my eyes and saw a Mr. L., who had died some years before, and 
with whom I had been very familiar. I got out of bed and followed the 
form from the bedroom into the dining-room, where it disajjpeared. This- 
happened in the month of .June or July of 1871. 

" Health good. No grief or anxiety. Age 49. 

"■ I was drowsy, even though I got out of bed." 

As the abrupt oblivion of dreams on waking is a familiar occurrence, 
it seems not improbable that the apparition of Mr. L., in the last case, 
was a persistent dream-image : and this may, of course, be the case 
with other apparitions seen immediately after suddenly waking. But 
where we have no positive evidence of such a connection, we have not 
hesitated to include these among hallucinations. 

(3) The third distinction presents greater difficulties. Between 
the vivid hallucination which looks in all respects like a real 
person or object, apparently occupying space, reflecting light, and 
hiding objects behind it, and the mere memory image or mental 

IV.] Hallucinations and Pseudo-Hallucinations. 73 

picture, there are intermediate phenomena, which, as we shall 
find, it is sometimes difficult to distinguish and classify. We 
propose, accordingly, in the remainder of the present chapter, 
to discuss and illustrate fully this line of distinction ; leaving the 
line between hallucinations and illusions to be drawn in the next 

We will begin by giving typical instances of unmistakable 
hallucinations ; taking them from the class of realistic hallucinations 
representing human beings, which, it will be observed, are far the 
most numerous in our collection. We take specimens from all the 
three classes into which we have divided these apparitions, namely : 
apparitions of the living, of the dead, and of unrecognised persons. 

(284. 23.) From Mr. Joseph Kirk. 

2, Ripen Villas, Upper Ripon-road, Plumstead, April, 1890. 

" My experience occurred about four years ago, at the house I now 
occupy, and in daylight. I have always had an objection to a servant having to 
go out for anything before breakfast. But at this time it frequently happened 
that the milkman was not jjunctual to time, and milk had to be sent for. 
This was a cause of annoyance to us, because I was compelled to leave home 
by 9.30 a.m., and, after waiting for the milkman to the last moment, tlie girl 
had to run out in a liurry. I was always made aware, while still in my dress- 
ing-room, when this was the case. Tlie latch-lock of the front basement 
door was out of order, and a strong pull from outside was necessary to shut 
it. This always resulted in a loud hantj. (Note the bang.) 

"On the morning I experienced the hallucination, I was in my dressing- 
room, and was about half-way through the process of dressing when I heard 
the sound T was so familiar with — this hang — and concluded that the milk- 
man was again too late, and that the girl had once more to go for milk. I 
experienced a momentary feeling of annoyance only, so far as I can re- 
member ; at any rate, I had forgotten the subject before I left the room. 

" My dressing-room is on the first floor at the back of the house, and I 
have only to step out of it and at once descend a flight of stairs to reach the 
basement. The breakfast-room is in front of the house on this basement, 
and there is a superior kitchen behind it. At this time it was a weekly 
custom to have the breakfast-room thoroughly over-hauled early in tlie 
morning, and the breakfast laid, for that morning, in the kitchen. It was 
so this morning. The foot of the stairs is close to the kitchen door. 

"As I descended the stairs to breakfast, I saw Mary (the servant) approach- 
ing me from the basement door, dressed, as usual when on an errand, in her 
brown straw hat, black cloth jacket, and light print frock ; and I had only 
just time to reach the kitchen door to permit her to |jc(ss behind me, without 
stopping, on her way towards the scullery. 

" The instant I entered the kitchen I observed to my wife, ' So Mary has 
had to go for milk again.' 'No,' she replied, 'she has not.' 'But,' I 
exclaimed, ' I have just seen her, dressed, come from the front door ; and 
besides, I heard the door banged as she went out.' ' It is your fancy,' she 

74 Report on the Census of Hallucinations. [chap. 

returned. ' Mary has not been out this morning, and she is now in the break- 
fast-room at work.' 

" There was no doubt that such was the case, and that, instead of having 
seen the real Mary, I had had a very vivid and life-like hallucination of her. 
It would be natural to suggest that it was the girl herself I had seen, and that 
she had merely left the breakfast-room for something she wanted from the 
scullery. But servants do not usually set about in-door work dressed in out- 
door costume ; and, had she not seemed to me to be wearing her hat and jacket, 
I should simply have thought it was the girl herself, and made no remark." 

In the following case the apparition represented the percipient 
herself. 1 

(555. 5.) From Miss A. B. 0. 

January, 1892. 

" In June, 1889, about 8-9 p.m., [it] being qviite light at the time, I saw, 

near in Scotland, a figure approacliing me, which, on coming near, I 

discovered was the double of myself, except that the figure, which wore a 
white dress, had a charming smile. I also wore a white dress ; the figure 
had black on its hands, whether gloves or mittens I do not know. I had 
neither. It was out of doors, coming down a garden walk. On holding 
out my hand to it, the figure vanished. [I was] 24 years old, in robust 
health, and not in anxiety or grief at the time." 

(19. 23.) From Miss C. C. 

May, 1889. 

' ' I was writing in my sitting-room at our home in Derbyshire one after- 
noon in summer. My table faced the open door. I looked up and saw my 
father coming in with papers in his hand, big blue official looking papers, 
and a look in his face I had seen a thousand times, a sort of amused look, as 
if some one had been very funny, in the uncon.scious way people are funny, 
and he was coming to share the amusement with me. For an instant I 
forgot he was no longer on the earth, and I looked up expecting him to 
speak, and half rose to push across to him the chair he liked to use — when 
there was just nothing. There is nothing for evermore. 

" That is all. Just a vivid dream, I suppose, not worth speaking of, and I 
never have spoken of it to anyone. You ask for a date. My father left us 
on April 12th, 1883, and it was in the summer of 1884, about June, I think, 
tliat I thought I saw him, as I have said. I think he did speak, but if so, it 
was only to call my name or to claim my attention, just as a man would do on 
entering the room with his mind full of something he wished to impart." 

(661. 5.) From Mr. R. H. H. 

(The account is a copy of notes made about an hour after the occurrence.) 

Aiyril 2Uh [1892], 9 p.m. 
" Saw standing in front of fire-place a tall well-proportioned man, in 
loud check suit (drab and black), very pale, dark hair parted in the middle 

1 Such apparitions of the "double" are rare. We have only seven instances 
in the Census. 

IV.] Hallucinations a/ad Pseudo-Hallucinations. 


and plastered down ; seemed thoughtful, and gaze was not directed towards 
me. The impression lasted about five seconds, but was vivid, and I experienced 
a strange feeling all over me— unlike former feelings, when I had distinct 
consciousness of a presence, ^ but saw none. I was too much astonished to 
speak. He looked like a fairly well-to-do mechanic in his best suit ; age 
about thirty-five. 

"The impression faded, or rather seemed to collapse, very quickly, and 
in about two seconds had entirely disappeared. Total length of view about 
five seconds." 

(Note added a few days later.) "Distance between figure and myself 
14 feet ; room well lighted by lamps and two candles, but a lamjj above 
mantelpiece projecting from wall by a sconce was hidden by figure : lamp 
not lighted. I was coming out of my bedroom ; in good health and not in 
trouble of any sort. 1 am nearly 25 years of age." 

To these we may add a case from another class, — what we have 
called " incompletely developed hallucinations," — in which, though the 
resemblance to any real object in nature is incomplete, still there is no 
question about the hallucination taking its place among these objects, 
and being, so far as sensation is concei'ned, of the same kind. 

(527. 4.) The following account is given by a medical man, Mr. C. T. G. : — 

April lUh, 1892. 

" About six months ago, in small hours a.m., I thought I saw a figure of 
a young man. [I was] in very good health, no anxiety ; not the slightest 
fright at the appearance. I awoke suddenly, feeling absolutely awake. . . . 

"I saw the figure in bright mooidight. Moon nearly vertically overhead, 
so that it could not shine on any part of me. The blind was drawn fully up. 

"I could see it was figure of a man dressed in black morning coat, no 
hat ; figure was turned towards the window, so that I only could see 
a three-quarter back view and not the face. I hoped and wished it would 
move and turn round and become more distinct ; it did none of these. Time 
seen seemed about a minute or two — probably only a few seconds. I could 
see part of the window-sill through body of figure. 

"It appeared of same semi-opacity all the time it was visible. It 
gradually faded. I must have gone to sleep again very shortly afterwards. 

" Age, 28 years. 

" I attached little importance to my hallucination, though I can't explain or 
find any reason for my awaking suddenly and finding myself looking directly 
at the figure." 

In cases such as these the percipient, while experiencing the 
hallucination, is at the same time normally perceiving real objects 
within his range of vision, and the hallucinatory percept is brought 
into relation with these, so as to occupy apparently as definite a place 
in the field of vision. The phantasm appears to stand side by side 
with real objects, and the percipient is usually deceived for the 

1 For other experiences of the same percipient, see p. 86. 

76 Report on the Census of Hallucinations. [chap. 

moment into thinking it as real as they. The conviction that it is not 
real is due, not to a difference in the hallucinatoiy percept, but to an 
exercise of the reflective judgment. The mode of appearance and dis- 
appearance, the appeal to another sense, the impossibility that a real 
person should have been there — points, in short, which are only 
apprehended by reflection — are the considerations on which the judg- 
ment depends. 

To cases such as these, and they form the majority of our collection, 
there is no difliculty in applying the definition ; the experience is 
clearly a hallucination. But in a certain number of cases there is a 
difliculty in deciding whether the phantasmal object appeared sufli- 
ciently external for the experience to l)e regarded as strictly a halluci- 
nation, or whether it rather belonged to the type conveniently called 
by Kandinsky " pseudo-hallucinations."^ 

Pseudo-hallucinations may be defined as having all the character- 
istics of hallucinations, except that of complete externalisation. They 
ai'e unlike the ordinary images of fancy or memory, which we 
voluntarily call up, in being spontaneous, and in being more vivid and 
detailed, and moi"e steady. Like hallucinations, they cannot be called 
up, nor their form altered, at will. On the other hand, they are unlike 
hallucinations proper, in not seeming to the percipient to be perceived 
through the senses. It is with the eye of the mind, not the bodily 
eye, that he seems to see them ; with the mental, not the bodily, ear 
that he seems to hear them ; and accordingly they do not even suggest 
the presence of a corresponding corporeal reality. The difference 
between pseudo-hallucinations and hallucinations proper is well brought 
out by the following description, sent to us by a lady who had 
experienced both kinds. 

From Miss C. B. M. 
(This case did not come to us through the Census.) 

' ' When I first saw persons who I knew were not creatures of imagina- 
tion, nor yet corporeally present, they seemed to be pictured just within, 
instead of before my eyes. One afternoon in the fall of 1863, while engaged 
in some household work, an elderly woman suddenly appeared to me in that 
manner. She wore spectacles, was plainly dressed, and had an unsightly 
bend in the front of her bonnet, which showed she had not put it on before 
a mirror. She stood a few feet below my level, and her face wore a look of 
anxious inquiry as she tipped back her head to scan me through the 
spectacles. She remained several minutes witli no change of attitude or 
expression. With my eyes open or closed, she was there. 

"During the last six years, these phantoms have usually been projected 
into space, and I seem to see them by tlie ordinary method of vision. I 
have been near-sighted from birth and experience the same difficulty in 

1 Krttischc und Uinischc Betrachtwugen ini Gebicte dcr Sinnestdusehungen^ — ■ 
Berlin, 1885. 

IV.] Hallucinations and Pseudo-Hallucinations. 77 

■discerning the unreal that I do when viewing real objects ; unless the 
persons come near, I cannot clearly distinguish their features. However 
real the apparitions at first appear, a close inspection reveals that they have 
no solidity ; other objects can be seen through them. 

"The persons and places makmg up some scene of everyday life are 
■generally enclosed in globes, I call them for convenience, which are 
apparently of the consistency of a soap bubble. Tlieseare sometimes white, 
sometimes shado-svy, but oftener show one of the prismatic colours, like a 
dew-drop in the sunlight. The first that I noticed was in the evening, after 
the light was extinguished. In tlie dark, they have a semi-transparent 
whiteness, yet are illuminated within, so that what they picture is distinctly 
visible. This one revolved, not very rapidly, from west to east, one side in 
shadow, the other showing glimpses of trees, houses, &c. By-and-bye it 
steadied itself, as if it had been unrolling a coil and had reached the end. 
Then I saw a large house and a leafless tree at one end of it. A window in 
the second storey was uncurtained, and within, at a table on which a lamp 
was burning, sat a man writing. His back was toward me. He now and then 
paused and raised his head as if following some errant thought, showing by 
Tiis movements as well as by his figure and heavy suit of dark hair, that he 
was young and athletic. While studying this new phase of appearances, I 
felt some one near, and turning my head saw close by my side an old lady in 
a poke bonnet. Her features were small and she fixed a pair of very black 
eyes long and searchingly on my face. As I moved again, directly in front 
of me was a young girl clad in white ; her face was exquisitely fair and 
sweet. At the time I had an odd suspicion that these were conned ed with 
the writer in the upper room, that somehow he had sent them. 

' ' Not long after, while conversing with friends, and seated where the rays 
(if the sun came full into the room from an opposite window, a transparent 
globe sailed in on a beam of light with active persons inside, but I could not 
watch them without attracting attention. From that time, in the dark and 
in the broad glare of day, I have seen, enshrined in the globes, images of 
towns, cities, lakes, river.s, boats, ships, the interior and exterior of churches, 
workshops, dwellings, houses, carriages ; in short, all the busy scenes of life 
and labour in their most intense activity. These pictures — as I believe, of 
actual life— seem literally borne on ' the wings of the wind.' Often when a 
door is opened, they rush in like messengers in haste. One November 
afternoon in 1882, on looking from my bedroom window, I saw a huge globe 
whirhng rapidly in a dark cloud far away in the north-east. There was no 
breeze stirring outside then, but five minutes later a strong wind from that 
du-ection swept down the street. The globes have four apparent motions ; 
they revolve, move forward or backward in a direct line, vibrate as a pendu- 
lum, or spring up and down like a catch ball attached to an elastic cord. 
Their size seems to depend mainly upon distance, being largest at the 
farthest point, diminishing in size as they approach. ... I have never 
by an effort of will been successful in summoniiag any apparition. They 
come and go in their own way. It is when I am at my best physically, and 
my mental faculties keenly interested in something, that the pictures are 
most frequent and vivid. They are mostly quite the antipodes of my 
mental occupation." 

78 Report on the Census of Hallucinations. [chap. 

With the first experience described by Miss M., may be compared 
a veridical experience (No. 27) in Phantasms of the Living, Vol. I., 
p. 209, which the percipient thus describes : — 

. "I was dressing one morning in December, 1881, when a certain con- 
viction came upon me that someone was in my dressing-room. On looking 
round I saw no one, but then, instantaneously (in my mind's eye, I 
suppose), every feature of the face and form of my old friend, X., arose. 
This, as you may imagine, made a great impression on me. . . ." 

Kandinsky thinks the two phenomena, pseudo-hallucination and 
hallucination proper, so fundamentally different that if a percipient 
knows by his own experience what a genuine hallucination is, it is 
quite impossible for him to mistake a pseudo-hallucination for it.i 

We are inclined rather to think that there are circumstances 
where even a person accustomed to both experiences may be in 
doubt.2 But in any case, as our informants have not generally had 
both experiences, and as pseudo-hallucinations are sometimes very 
impressive phenomena, it is necessary to scrutinise the descriptions 
with care, lest any pseudo-hallucinations have crept in unawares. 

The diflaculty in drawing the line occurs especially in two classes of 

(1) Apjxmtions Seen in the Dark. 

The first of these is the class of apparitions seen in the dark when 
the percipient's real surroundings are invisible, so that the phantasm 
cannot stand among them and be compared with them in the same way 
as in the light. 

With sane and healthy people, mental images which, from their 
involuntariness and vividness, may be called pseudo-hallucinations, are 
not uncommon in the period between sleeping and waking, or of com- 
posing themselves to sleep— they are then the iUusions hypnagogiques 
of Maury. These would, of course, generally occur with closed eyes, 
and therefore, would be excluded from our tables, as explained on 
p. 36, even if reported as hallucinations. This rule we adopted, not 
because we regarded a genuine visual hallucination with closed eyes as 
an impossibility, but because the great majority of the phenomena of 
this kind are at most pseudo-hallucinations , and we could not expect 
either to distinguish true hallucinations from the others by means of 
the descriptions given or to obtain a sufficiently complete record of 
them to serve any statistical purpose. 

Things seen in actually complete darkness, but with eyes open— as 

1 He believes that the two phenomena are physiologically different, a part of the 
l)Tain coming into operation in hallucinations which does not play any part in pseudo- 

- Kandinsky seems practically to admit this in another part of his essay. 

IV.] Hallucinations and Pseudo-Hallucinations. 79 

the percipient believed — belong to a somewhat different category, and 
have required careful consideration. Some of them are undoubtedly 
hallucinations, but in other cases there is some uncertainty. On the 
■whole, we have decided that apparitions which, notwithstanding the 
darkness, seemed to the percipient to be seen occupying a definite place 
in his room — standing by his bed, for instance — should be classed as 
genuine hallucinations, and that others were to be regarded as 
probably pseudo-hallucinations. The number of apparitions seen in 
the dark thus included in our tables is .30.^ 

In 17 of the 30 cases, the figure alone appeared illuminated, 
sometimes seeming phosphorescent or emitting a special light of its 
own, as in No. 607. 1 (see p. 117); sometimes surrounded by a 
luminous aura or halo, as in the case next to be quoted ; sometimes 
merely appearing as a real person would in the light, but with nothing 
else visible round it, as in ISTo. 192. 21 (see p. 139) ; and No. 740. 9 
(Miss M.'s case, Chapter XVII). 

(37. 13.) From Miss H. WUson. 

October ISth, 1887. 
" A long time ago I was lying asleep, or nearly so, one night, when I felt 
a hand laid gently on my shoulder. I was not surprised or frightened. I 
thought it was my sister Alice, who sliared the same room with me, and I 
was too sleepy to rouse myself till I felt the hand pressing more heavily as 
if to wake me ; then I said, ' What is it, Alice 1 What do you want ? ' and 
at the same time opened my eyes. No candle or lamp was in the room, it 
was quite dark ; but close to my bedside stood, enveloped in light, a figure 
like my sister — it seemed my own sister Alice ; there was the golden-brown 
hair, blue eyes, and fair complexion, and yet it looked like a being from 
another world, standing in light unlike any earthly light— a beautiful 
glorified being ! It stood for a few moments, then vanished, and the room 
was all darkness again. I felt deep awe, but no fear." 

In 12 other cases out of the 30 the room appeared illuminated, 
though it was really dark ; in three of these the figure seemed to 
emit the light {e.(/., No. 33.25, a case published in Proceedings S.P.R.,- 
Vol. v., p. 462) ; in the others, the room and figure both seemed to be 
lighted in an ordinary manner, as in the following : — 

(196. 17.) From Miss E. M. J. 

(The account was written in 1889.) 
" One night in the year 1882 or 1883, I awoke completely and sat up in 
bed. There was light enough in the room to see all the objects in it 

1 In the g^eat majority of cases of hallucinations ezperienced when the percipient 
was in bed, the room was not completely dark. 

- Eighteen persons, whose experiences had previously been published in Phantasms 
of the Living or the Proceedinr/s S.P.R., happen to have been included in the Census. 

80 Report on the Census of Hallucinations. [chap. 

distinctly. My bed faced the door. Coming from the door, which was shut, 
I saw distinctly, and noticed the dress she had on, a lady friend staying in 
the house. She was advancing on her hands and knees. My first thought 
was that she had suddenly lost her reason. I asked her what she wanted. 
She did not answer but disappeared under the bed. I leaned over the side 
of the bed to see if I could see her, believing her really to be there ; almost 
immediately the room became quite dark. I had no feeling of fear, and I 
am sure that I was wide awake. I was teacliing at the time, and had been 
overworking. I was in the habit of seeing the lady almost daily, and had 
done so for some years. She was presumablj' asleep in bed at the time on 
the other side of the jjassage. I was alone." 

The remaining case, which follows, seems intermediate between these 
two types. 

(53. 21.) From Miss F. D. 

(The account was written in 1889.) 

" I saw two figures dressed in brown, monkish habits, with cowls over 
their heads, and long grey beards. They a^Dpeared to come out of a cup- 
board in my room and walk to the bedside. I had been asleep, but awoke 
in fright. Opposite the bed was a recess in the wall, not deep, which was 
illuminated by a phosiDhorescent light. The apparition, both of figures and 
light, continued for some minutes, until I had time to light a candle, 
-when it disappeared. This took place in the year 1879." 

If the following specimen of what we regard as a pseudo-hallucina- 
tion — and therefore do not include in our statistics — be compared with 
the cases just quoted, the difference will be clear. 

(37. 23.) From Mr. J. W. A. 

(The account was written in 1889.) 

' ' Over and over again I have seen faces in the dark. Lying in bed, 
broad awake, faces have come out suddenly in the darkness near my bed, 
appearing, some hideous, some beautiful, and generally extremely vivid. 
Here is a particular instance. I had been reading of Brynhilda and lay 
in bed thinking about her life ; when out there came on the darkness a 
grand face — worth anyone's toil to transfer to canvas — and so vivid that 
now, after several years' interval, I could make a picture of it if I could only 
draw. In general, however, these faces seem to have no connection with 
any particular person or name. They occur most commonly when I am 
very tired." 

It may interest our readers to give here two other instances of 
pseudo-hallucinations between sleeping and waking, which illustrate 
different types. 

(38. 11.) From Professor M. 

May 25th, 1889. 

" My imagination was vividly impressed by the Exhibition of 1851, and for 
long after, perhaps a year or more, I used to like to shut my eyes when I 

IV.] Hallucinations and Pseudo-Hallminations. 81 

went to bed and keep very still, and gradually out of the darkness there 
would come rolling towards me a gorgeous billow covered with bright 
objects, and then another, and then another ; and they would get brighter 
and brighter and then gradually fade away. In this sense I had no control 
over them, that I never knew what was coming next, and the first time they 
came it must have been entirely without any willing on my part. But 
afterwards my will used often to help them on. I recollect, however, that 
I could not always get them when I wanted. (The billow shape of the 
appearances probably had its origin in those long trestles, covered generally 
with red cloth, and laden with all manner of goods, that are to be seen at 
exhibitions.) I was in delicate health, subject to headaches of a severity 
which is, I believe, very rare, and apt to have my sensitiveness to outward 
impressions vary very much." 

(478. 4.) From Miss M. Bramston. 

41, Dingwall-road, Croydon, October 13th, 1892. 

" On the night of Thursday, October 6th, as I was settling to sleep, I saw 
before my eyes a jDicture of two strips of still shining water, witli trees on 
their banks reflected in them, one behind the other ; the trees seemed to change 
as I looked, being sometimes ordinary hedgerow trees, then pollard willows, 
then hedgerow trees again. I watched the picture with great pleasure, think- 
ing with my waking senses how pretty it was. The next day I was returning 
from Folkestone to London, and the floods were out in places beside the line. 
I saw two strips of shining water, one behind the other, with trees reflected 
in them, just as in my hypnagogic picture. As the train went on the tree 
reflections changed, and one strip of flood on the other side of the train had 
pollard willows reflected in it. I had not consciously realised that the rain 
we had been having was likely to j^roduce floods, but certainly the i-eality 
seemed curiously to correspond to the hypnagogic picture. 

"M. Bramston." 

Returning to fully externalised hallucinations seen in the dark, 
the apparent illumination of the real objects in the room, which, as we 
have seen, accompanies many of them, is a noteworthy phenomenon. 
It seems possible that it is of the same nature as an experience which 
is not uncommon with some persons, namely, that on waking in the 
dark the whole room appears light for a short time. One informant 
who has several times experienced this, describes the impression 
as " a momentary flash " ; in other cases there is merely a vague im- 
pression of dazzling light on first opening the eyes. It has been 
suggested that such experiences may be due to hyperesthesia — a 
greater sensitiveness to light, and consequent power of seeing in what 
ordinarily appears to be darkness — just at the moment of waking, after 
the eyes have been for some time in a condition of repose.^ Cases like 

1 Eight out of the nine cases in which the room seemed illuminated and a figure 
appeared in it occurred within a few moments after waking, and in three of these 
cases the experience recurred several times in the same way to the same percipient. 



Report on the Census of Hallucinations. [chap. 

that of Miss Mason, one of our informants (quoted in Proceedings 
S.P.R., Vol. VIII., p. 372), who saw her room as it really was, but not 
as she imagined it to be, certainly suggest the hypothesis of real vision 
of real objects ; and there is an analogous case (not in our present 
collection) where the light accompanying an apparition revealed an 
object — a gun — in the place it really occupied, but not where the 
percipient fancied it was. This, however, is no proof that the vision 
of it was not an externalised memory image, as the percipient^ 
having placed his gun in that particular position himself, must have 
been subconsciously aware of its true position, which was, in 
fact, that in which he had last actually seen it. A hypothesis 
which involves the assumption that an abnormal experience is in part 
hallucinatory, and in part due to a hyperajsthetic condition, seems 
somewhat strained in the absence of any direct evidence of a connec- 
tion between hypersesthesia and hallucination. It seems simpler to 
suppose the room to be seen hallucinatorily, like the figure in it, the 
illuminated room being an externalised memory image, suggested by 
the percipient's consciousness of where he is. There seems no reason 
to assume a fundamental difference between an apparent illumination 
of the real room in which the percipient is, and a vision of an 
illuminated room, like the following : — 

(421. 9.) From Mr. A. C. B. 

March 7th,, 1891. 

" From the time when I was about 12 years old to my present age (22), 
I have often, when waking in middle of the night, found the room apparently 
blazing with light, heard loud music, generally of a band, and seen a number 
of men and women, generally dancing or in rapid motion ; men and women 
in evening clothes, women in white. This has gradually disappeared in 
about 5 to 10 seconds from the time when I awoke. Sometimes the 
impressions were very distinct, sometimes weak. But I was always wide 
awake when they occurred, and often made distinct attempts to recognise 
faces, unsuccessfully, and to remember distinctly the impressions. Once 
about three years ago, after the usual impression had faded away, I saw a 
man in a brown dress of last century at the foot of my bed. I did not 
recognise his face, and there was nothing remarkable about him. These 
impressions never made me at all afraid. 

"Age from 12 — 22. The impressions have lately occurred less frequently. 
My health has always been good, though 1 am sliglitly nervous. I have never 
suffered from any particular grief or anxiety." 

Mr. B. writes further : — 

" As to the light, 1 did not see the room by it as it is, but a completely 
different room, of which I had only a very vague impression. There was 
always a mirror, the most luminous thing in the room, directly opposite me, 
though there might be no real glass in the room at all. There is no un- 
familiar position of a familiar object. I imagine the light is altogether a 
part of the hallucination, which is of course purely subjective." 

IV.] Hallucinations and Pseudo-Hallucinations. 83 

(2) Visions. 

The second class of cases in which the line between hallucinations 
and pseudo-hallucinations is often peculiarly difficult to draw is the 
class which we have called "Visions." By " visions," as already said 
in explaining the tables, we mean scenes or pictures, or sometimes 
single figures or faces, which do not seem to belong to the percipient's 
actual surroundings. 

There is no question that the vision is adequately externalised when 
it is quite definitely located among the percipient's actual surroundings 
as seen at the time ; for instance, when it is seen on a reflecting or other 
surface, as in No. 406. 25. (see p. 106) ; or when the wall seems to open 
and the vision to be seen through it, as in No. 442. 1-5 (Mrs. B.'s case 
in Chapter XVII). In other cases, the relation of the hallucinatory 
object to the percipient's surroundings is less definite, but the re- 
semblance of the apparent perception to ordinary vision is still 
unmistakable ; the case given on the preceding page, No. 421. 9, is 
an instance of this. But between these and mental pictures many 
gradations seem to occur, and neither the percipients nor ourselves 
can always feel sure on which side of the line dividing externalised 
from non-externalised visions particular cases should come. A couple 
(jf cases will illustrate the difficulty. The following is one which, 
after some hesitation^ we have decided was a pseudo-hallucination, and 
have accordingly not included in our tables. 

(42. 25.) From Miss C. P. M. C. 

(The account was written in the beginning of June, 1889.) 

' ' I distinctly saw a person whom I knew (M. T. ) lying in bed, and the 
room and furniture exactly as I last saw it. I had tlie impression of hearing 
her voice. The impression was so vivid that for the time it stopped my 
reading, and I remember being surprised at it and wondering whether the 
woman were alive or dead. I had had a letter three days previously saying 
she was dying. She had been an invalid when I first saw her, so that I never 
knew her otherwise than in bed. 

" Place : probably in the Geological Museum. Date : May 14th, 1889, 
Tuesday, in the morning. 

" I was reading geology [at the time]. I was not out of health, but I 
was in anxiety on (£uite a different subject. 

" I did not know the woman very well, and did not see her often. 

" She died that day, but I do not know the hour. 

" No [other persons were present at the time]. 

"I have had many such impressions, probably quite as vivid, but none 
that I remember much about, as at the time I took no notice of them. Once, 
when a child, being in bed but certainly awake, I remember hearing voices 
of people I knew well who were far away at the time." 

Miss C. gave an account of this experience verbally to the collector. 
Miss Alice Johnson, before writing it down. For the exact date she referred 

G 2 

84 Report on the Census of Hallucinations. [chap. 

to a small diary, in which she had noted some incident that she remembered 
had happened on the same day as her vision. 

We find from the Register at Somerset House that M. T. died at the 
Hospital for Incurables, Heaton Norris, Stockport, on May 14th, 1889. 

Miss C. explained that the other "impressions" she mentioned were of 
the nature of vivid visualisations. She describes these further in a letter 
written some time later : — • 

My 9th, 1892. 

" I perfectly well remember telling you my experience of having had 
a ' vision, ' as you call it. The incident itself I still remember vividly, 
though the surroundings are rather dimmed. It happened one morning 
that I was doing practical work in the Laboratory. ^ Suddenly, as by a 
sort of flash, I saw M. T. before me, lying in bed as I had seen her last, 
and I remember thinking and wondering was she dead ; and it struck me 
then how strange it was it should flash across me so suddenly, when I was 
intent upon my work ; it required a considerable efibrt of will to return to 
my work afterwards. Of course it must be remembered that I knew she 
was very ill and likely to die ; she was in an incurable hospital, and I had 
been interesting myself a few months previously in getting her elected as 
a free inmate. 

" So much for the facts. I don't think I have ever had any other such 
experience which impressed me so much and of which I remember the 
details so well. This one occurred at the very time Miss T. died, or with- 
in half-an-hour of it. I think I told you I had a faint recollection of some- 
thing like it having happened when I was a school-girl, but no distinct 
impression remains. It seems to me that everybody can more or less 
voluntarily visualise persons and scenes. T can do it so that the people are 
very nearly, if not quite, as vivid as if they were actually before me, and I 
can hold imaginary conversations with them. 

"It sometimes happens that while I am quite occupied, spontaneously 
some one comes up befox-e me whom I have not seen or thought about 
at all for a long time. I tliink about them for a little time, possibly saying 
to myself, ' Wliy do I tliink of so and so now ? ' and then I quite naturally 
cease to think of tliem, l)ut I have never before found that anything 
happened to these people at these times. 

"[The case of] Miss T. impressed me so much, first, because it was 
so vivid ; second, because I heard a day or two afterwards that she had 
died at that time. You hapjjened to speak to me about the psychological 
investigations soon afterwards, otherwise it would pi'obably have faded 
from my memory. Of these vivid impressions of people I have just men- 
tioned, I remember only two for certain since Easter ; others may have 
occurred, but no impi'ession remains." 

On the other hand, we have decided to class as a hallucination 
the following case of a dream-like apparition, because the feeling of 
spatial relation to the vision was prominent in the percipient's mind. 

1 Doubtless a mistake from, lapse of memory, as the previous account says, "in 
the museum." Miss C. was in the habit of worlcing in both places about that 
time. [A. J.] 

IV.] Halliicinations and Pseudo-Hallucinations. 85 

(660. 12.) From Miss C. M. Campbell. 

[This case has already been printed in Proceedings S.P.R., Vol. VIII,, 
p. 324, in the Record of a Haimted Bouse, by Miss R. C. Morton ; but as 
it is the best illustration in the Census of the particular point in question, 
we have thought it desirable to repi'int it here.] 

77, Chesterton-road, North Kensington, W., March olst, 1892. 

" On the night on which Miss Morton first spoke to the figure, as stated 
in her account, I myself saw her telepathically . I was in my room (I was 
then residing in the North of England, quite 100 miles away from Miss 
Morton's home), preparing for bed, between 12 and half -past, when I seemed 
suddenly to be standing close to the door of the housemaid's cupboard, 
facing the short flight of stairs leading to the top landing. Coming 
down these stairs, I saw the figure, exactly as described, and about 
two steps behind Miss Morton herself, with a dressing-gown thrown 
loosely round her, and carrying a candle in her hand. A loud voice 
in the room over-head recalled me to my surroundings, and although I tried 
for some time I could not resume the impression. 

" The black dress, dark head-gear, widow's cuffs and handkerchief were 
plainly visible, though the details of them were not given me by Miss Morton 
till afterwards, when I asked her whether she had not seen the apparition 
on that night. 

"CM. Campbell." 
Miss Morton adds : — ' ' Miss Campbell was the friend to whom I first 
spoke of the apparition. She suggested to me that when next I saw her I 
should speak ; but of course she had no idea when this would be. She wrote 
an account to me the next day of what she had seen, and a.sked me if I had not 
seen the figure that night ; but naturally did not know that I had done so, 
until she received my reply. Miss Campbell asks me to say that this is 
the only vision she has had, veridical or otherwise." 

Sense of Presence. 

"We pass to consider a kind of experience the discussion of which 
will further illustrate the difficulties of classification with which we are 
now dealing. This is an impression of the near presence of someone, 
in which no sensation, either of sight, hearing, or touch, appears to be 
involved. We cannot regard it as strictly a sensory hallucination, and 
accordingly we have not included any instance of it in our Tables ; still, 
it involves a more or less definite quasi-perception of the occupation of 
space in the neighbourhood of the percipient. The impression, in a 
slight degree, is familiar to most people, and is pi'obably sometimes 
caused by slight sounds, movements of the air, etc., of which the 
origin is undetected, and the existence perhaps not consciously per- 
ceived. But, in the degree in which we are now concerned with it, the 
impression does not seem explicable in this way, and it is often so 
strong as to appear to the percipient a very sti'iking phenomenon, and 
to produce a great effect on his mind. 

86 Report on the Cemus of Hallucinations. [chap. 

Professor J ames, who has met with a good many instances of it 
among the affirmative answers to the Census of Hallucinations in 
America, says (Princi2)les of Psychology, Vol. 11.^ p. 322) : — 

" From the way in which this experience is spoken of by those who 
have had it, it would appear to be an extremely definite and positive 
state of mind, coupled with a belief in the reality of its object quite as 
strong as any direct sensation ever gives. And yet no sensation seems 
to be connected with it at all. . . . The phenomenon would seem 
to be due to a pure conceptio7i becoming saturated with the sort of 
stinging urgency which ordinarily only sensations bring." 

The effect of the experience on the percipient may be the greater 
from its being completely non-sensory, since this would make it appear 
more unaccountable. Similarly, voices or sounds coming from nothing 
visible are often more startling than visual hallucinations, as being 
prima facie more unaccountable. This is perhaps the reason why stories 
of " haunted houses " in which nothing happens, except that mysterious 
noises are heard, appeal so strongly to the popular imagination ; and 
when an impression is produced of the presence of an object imper- 
ceptible by any sense, the mysterious effect is heightened still further. 

The narrative that follows describes a series of such impressions, 
occurring to the percipient of case (661.5) quoted above (see p. 74). 

(661. 5) Mr. H. writes :— 

February 29th, 1892. 
"In September, 1890, 1 was reading for entrance [to the University]. About 
11 p.m. I was engaged with Cicero, De SenectH.te,u\ a little room I have formerly 
used as a snug and studio for painting. I suddenly became conscious of a feeling 
that some one else was present.. I looked round, expecting to see my mother, 
who had occasionally come in, for I had several times left the lamp burning 
all night ; but I saw no one. I examined the room, measuring about 16 
feet X 8 feet. I expected to find my mother hid behind a large studio easel ; 
she is fond of practical jokes. There was no one there. Very jjuzzled, I 
commenced reading, or rather tried to do so, for I had only time to place the 
book in front of me when I became convinced of some one looking over my 
shoulder. I took an old constable's staff which I used for a ruler, as though 
I intended to use it, and suddenly turned round and saw — no one. At this 
time 1 never gave spiritual phenomena a thought. I went round the room 
again and off to bed, very puzzled indeed. About a little more than a year 
afterwards — Oct., 1891 — I was smoking in another man's rooms here. 
1 was alone, and was leisurely turning over Thomson's Lawi of Thonglit, 
and I experienced the same feeling very intensely. I did not at the moment 
think of my former experience, but, being a freshman, I naturally thought 
of some trick, but I found no one. I then began to feel — sliall I .say 
knotv? — that a woman was present. I put it down to hallucination and went 
down into the town. About June last year, after mature consideration, I 
came to believe that there was evidence enough to grant the possibility of 
spirit phenomena. Since then 1 have had several most vivid returns of similar 

IV.] Hallucinations and Pseudo-Hallucinations. 87 

experiences, one when out for a walk, the rest being in my rooms at brief 
intervals, and always this woman. Why do I say it is a woman ? And yet 
I know it is ; I do not believe, I Jctiow — always when not thinking about it. 
The last was after a card party in my rooms. I was rather irritated at the 

time, and I am afraid said very sharply, " Oh go to the ! " Whether 

this adjuration was entirely efficacious remains to be proved, but the feeling 
of the presence suddenly ceased. If it was a spirit, she did not even give 
ime an opportunity for an apology. 

" About a week after this — I cannot ascertain at this moment the exact 
date — I was in the Assembly Rooms, directly opposite the gates, listening to 
Arthur Helmore in some of his sketches. I suddenly became seized with 
the idea that an old man in last century costume was present on 
the stage, and he gradually passed through the wings. I could have stood at 
■an easel and painted it, yet I did not see him. This was the most vivid 
of all. 

" I am often conscious of presences, though sometimes very vague, some- 
times in the air, sometimes walking about, very seldom standing still. In 
every case my attention is called — shall I say, by the magnetic influence ? I 
mever fancy there is something, and then believe there is a visitor. My first 
experience of [these] sensations was in 1887. All were out of the house but 
myself, even servants. I was cataloguing my late father's library. I distinctly 
heard the front door open, some one come down the hall, go upstairs. I went 
to the door of the room, expecting to see some one going upstairs ; there 
was no one there, and the front door was bolted. It was the spring race 
meeting in the towii. I thought that possibly some one might have walked 
in. I went upstairs — no one there I During the writing of this, I have been 
conscious of a draped figure coming in at the door and making a circle round 
the room and disappearing behind my back. Its colour was a delicate raw 
umber, almost the tone, but not the shade, of the ground of a plover's egg. 

"I am healthy, and take an enormous amount of exercise, and am con- 
sidered an exceptionally strong man. I cannot put it down to hallucination, 
and yet how is it that I should know the colours ? I have stood in my room 
and called upon them to appear, and they would not favour me. I once 
walked up to one, or rather tried to, and it backed through an india- 
rubber plant, through an engraving of Sir. F. Leigh ton's "Solitude," and 
the wall — and yet I did not see it." 

In this case, we see the experience in various forms, from the mere 
sense of presence, unaccompanied by distinct sensory impressions or 
images, and not very definitely localised in space, to the figure occupy- 
ing a perfectly definite place in the real surroundings, and whose form 
and colour is clearly apprehended by visual images, which, however, 
were not externalised. It is important to notice that Mr. H. is a good 
judge of this, as he has experienced a complete visual hallucination 
as well, and can compare them. Compare with this a case quoted in 
Proceedings, S.P.R., Vol. VI., p. 53, where, however, the impression 
was dispelled by looking at the place where the figure was supposed to 
be seated. 


Report on the Census of Hallucinations. 


Visual hallucinations which are undoubtedly fully externalised are 
sometimes complicated by a non-externalised element. Thus, Mrs. 
Verrall in her experiments in crystal vision (see Proceedings, S.P.R., 
Vol. VIII., p. 474) is sometimes aware that certain objects in the 
vision have certain colours, while conscious of not seeing the colour. 

Auditory pseudo-hallucinations — ^sometimes described as the hear- 
ing of inner voices, which seem to be heard by the mind, and not by 
the ear — are not uncommon experiences with some persons. A striking 
instance is given in Phantasms of the Living (Vol. I., p. 481, footnote). 
Some of these auditory cases, like some of the visual ones, seem to be 
on the verge of externalisation, and the percipient himself cannot 
always say whether they are externalised or not. Occasionally, even 
in cases that seem externalised, there is some quality that difierentiates 
them from real external sounds. 

Thus one percipient, Mrs. G., (682. 5.) writes : — 

"The hallucination consisted in hearing myself being called by name, so 
distinctly that I have looked around to hear whom the sound came from ; 
though, whether from imagination or the remembrance of this having 
occurred before, the voice, if I may call it so, had a quite indefinable quality, 
which invariably startled me and separated it from any ordinary sound. 
This lasted for several yeai'S. I am quite unable to explain the circum- 
stances, or that which impressed them upon me after ' the voice ' ceased." 

It occasionally happens that a visual hallucination is associated with 
an auditory pseudo-hallucination ; a completely externalised apparition 
seeming to communicate something in wox'ds which the percipient 
apprehends, but without seeming to hear them. We have no case 
of the converse kind — i.e., of a voice heard and felt to proceed from a 
pseudo- hallucinatory apparition. 

[The following account, which was received independently of the Census, 
is taken from notes made by a member of the Committee during an interview 
with the percipient, Miss G., who having almost lost her eyesight, was unable 
to write it herself. She has had several other visual hallucinations.] 

December 20th, 1891. 

" Miss G. had once living with her as lady companion a Mrs. V., who 
died of consumption in a home at Bournemouth on Nov. 25, 1888. Mrs. V.'s 
two children, who had died before her, were buried in the Norwood 
Cemetery, and Miss G. had promised that, if she went to the cemetery, she 
would look at their graves and see that they were in good condition. On 
Monday, May 11th, 1891, she had an opportunity of going to the cemetery 
in the morning, and found the graves well kept, as it turned out that a re- 
lative of Mrs. V.'s had looked after them ; so she felt no more responsibility 
about them, and thought no more about them. She came home to luncheon, 
and afterwards her cousin Miss B. was reading aloud to her, when she 
suddenly saw Mrs. V. standing against a dark part of the wall, about 10 feet 
from her, in a black serge dress, dark blue cloth jacket, like one Mrs. V. 

IV.] Hallucinations and Pseudo-Hallucinations. 89 

had made herself, a hat which she was familiar with, and tan gloves, like 
some Mrs. V. had once bought, but with plain silk stripes on the back, 
instead of little tufts which the original gloves had had. Miss G. recognised 
deiinitely all these articles of dress and looked up at the figure, expecting 
it to speak. She heard the words, " Thank you for going to see my babies." 
The voice seemed to come from the figure and was distinctly recognised by 
Miss G. as Mrs. V.'s voice, but yet it was not exactly audible like a real 
sound, so that she would not have expected another person to hear it, — she 
thought, because the lips of the figure did not move. On the other hand, 
the figure itself was so clearly visible that she did expect her cousin to 
see it, but she did not. It was perfectly natural and life-like — with sunny 
hair and bright colour like a consumptive person ; the right hand was 
crossed over the left, the figure was tall and broad. Mrs. V. had been 
a rather striking-looking person. The attitude of the hands was charac- 

"At this time Miss G. was nearly blind, but could see the apparition quite 
as clearly as a rather short-sighted person would ever have seen a real person 
at that distance, viz., about 10 feet." 

An instance where the idea of the tactile and muscular sense comes 
similarly into play in a pseudo-hallucinatory manner, without actual 
sensation, and yet with a spontaneity and insistance quite unusual in 
imagined sensations, is the following : — 

(446. 25.) From Mrs. W. 

(The account was written in 1891.) 

" A few years ago I received a letter from one of my sons, who was seeing 
America for the first time on his way to the Rocky Mountains. Amongst 
other things he described his visit to Niagara. It had evidently impressed 
him with the greatest admiration and delight, so that he could hardly tear 
himself away from the position he had taken above the Falls. His 
description was not minute, but the few words he did say were very expressive, 
so that I seemed to know a little wliat it was like, and what it was like to 
him as he stood there. I generally read my children's letters two or three 
times, and I am almost sure that it was not at my first reading of this 
letter, but at a second reading of it in the afternoon, and certainly in a room 
by myself, that I found myself experiencing a very extraordinary sensation 
of what I suppose I should have felt if I had been with my son at Niagara, 
and of Tfhat I suppose he felt. It was not seeing or hearing, not even 
feeling the spray as if actually wetting my face, but I should describe the 
sensation as the half-exhausting and yet delightful exhilaration and 
breatldessness produced by high wind and dashing water. I had made no 
effort to realise so completely what my son had seen and felt. The sensation 
distinctly came to me, and was such a very palpable impalpability that I stood 
or sat quite still, recipient of this strange eSect, anxious to lose none of it. 

" I do not remember the actual eflfect upon me of any fine waterfall, not 
having seen any for a great many years, and never any very remarkable 
one, so that the effect of the dash and grandeur of a high sea is the nearest 

90 Report on the Census of Hallucinations. [chap. 

likeness I know to what I felt on this occasion. I stood still in fear of 
losing any of the strange visitation, until it began to lose power and to 
become only a faint effect, and then ceased, either because it had exhausted 
itself or because my receiving jjower was exhausted. 

"Then I moved across the room, and I remember trying whether I could 
revive the effect — make it return — having the lately-read letter with me all 
the time, no doubt. But, to measure the power of the feeling in the form 
ia which my mind's eye has clothed it ever since (and no doubt did at the 
time), what had been an airy, cloudy column of force a foot and more 
high, would now only rise half a foot or less, then sink, then be renewed at 
my desire, only in smaller height (so my imagination described to me the 
lesser degree), then in smaller still, I suppose (though this third degree 
I cannot distinctly recall), and then no more, or I gave up the attempt. 
I felt no sensation of spray dashed up upon me, and actually wetting me, 
but all that was not palpable of it I felt. I was not made actually breath- 
less, but had the sensation of it, without the actual thing." 

We will conclude this section with two cases, included in our Tables, 
which seem to be on the line between hallucinations and pseudo- 
hallucinations. The first we are disposed to regard as a pseudo-hallu- 
cination at the outset, turning into a fully externalised, though 
momentary, hallucination of the ordinary type at the end. 

(584. 24.) 1 From Miss S. 

January 22nd, 1892. 
" Six years ago at Gibraltar, when standing washing her hands in dressing- 
room at A, with her back to C, Miss S. 
' saw with her eyes ' (she knows this 
was impossible because of the wall on 
either side of C, but she can only 
describe it that way) a friend of hers, 
then living in the West of Scotland, 
walk in at the door B, having a strange 
set smile on liis face, and walk across 
the room, and stand in doorway C. She then turned round and looked at 
him. She had only a glimpse of him after turning round, and then he 
vanished. She learned afterwards that he had died at that hour on that 
day. She mentioned what she had seen to no one beforehand. She was in 
very good health at the time." 

The difficulty in classifying the earlier part of this experience lies 
in the expression " saw with her eyes," since this quality of seeming to 
be seen with the bodily eyes is precisely the quality which is lacking in 

1 This case is strictly speaking at second-hand, but the collector is very well known 
to us, has been a collaborator in various departments of Psychical Research work, 
and is known by us to be careful and accurate, and acquainted with the questions at 
issue. Failing to get the percipient to write an account, or to agree to sign it, she 
wrote it herself, after hearing it from her and questioning her about it. 



IV.] Hallucinations and Pseudo-Hallucinations. 91 

pseudo-hallucinations. We are disposed, however, to think, notwith- 
standing this expression, that the first part of the experience was not 
an apparent sense-perception, since, if the percipient really felt as 
though she saw the figure with her eyes, why did she turn round to 
look at it ?i 

The next case is a vision of great vividness, but it is somewhat 
difficult, at any rate in retrospect, to say whether it appeared to be 
seen with the bodily eyes. 

(38. 24.) From Mr. A. D. 

Angiist 8th, 1889. 

"The details of the illusion are very simple. I was lying in bed, on a 
Sunday morning in November, 1876, quite awake and as well as usual at 
that time. The door between the bedroom and the keeping-room was shut, 
and the position in which I was lying would have made it impossible to see 
anything in the adjoining room, even had the door been open. Suddenly 
I saw on the table there a row of letters, laid one below the other, so as to 
leave the addresses and the stamps in sight. Their exact number I have 
forgotten, and it is of no consequence. The handwriting on the envelopes 
was in each case unknown to me, but the post-marks, which were all un- 
usually distinct — as clear as the Bath stamp, if you have ever noticed that — 
all bore the names of places where the few relations I have were then living, 
and at once I knew that the letters contained the news of their death. For 
some time T lay there thinking, not in the dreamy and half-conscious state 
which sometimes comes from a sudden shock, but with a full and vivid sense 
of what had happened and of the difference which it would make in my life. 
At last, with a great effort, I got up, determined to read the details and to 
know the worst. I dressed first, and then went into the next room to get 
the letters. I cannot describe the effect of going to the table and finding 
nothing except the breakfast things. There was no feeling of relief ; it 
seemed as if some violent convulsion were tearing one's whole structure in 
pieces, and for some minutes after that I can remember nothing. Even 
then the illusion did not pass away. All that day I waited in suspense for 
the letters of the next day, expecting the news to come then ; and with the 
force gradually failing, the same idea lasted on through the week, till at last 
it passed into a shadow and vanished away. 

"The vividness of the thing you will best understand from this— that 
1 have entirely forgotten the size and shape of the rooms, the arrangement 
of the furniture, and all the other details connected with them, except so 
far as they relate to this one incident. Where the bookcases were placed, and 
the position of the couch and the easy chairs, I could not tell, but the bed, 
the door between the rooms, and the table, I could mark down to an inch." 

Mr. D. adds, in answer to questions : — 

" I was certainly awake, and with my eyes open, when the vision 
occurred. Looking back, it is impossible to say whether there was any 
consciousness of what was really before me, but my impression is that 

1 Compare a case in Proceedings S.P.R., Vol. III., p. 114. 


Meport on the Census of Hallucinations. [chap. 

foi- the moment everything but the sight of the table and the letters was 
absolutely wiped out." 


It seems appropriate to consider in connection with the question 
of externalisation, whether there is any relation between visualising 
power and hallucination. The power of visualising — that is, calling 
up vivid and distinct mental images of objects thought of — varies 
greatly with different individuals, as we know from Mr. Galton's 
investigations. (Enquiries into Human Faculty, pp. 83-114.) 

MM. Binet and Fere ascertained (Animal Magnetism, p. 221) 
that most of the persons with whom they tried experiments in 
hypnotically induced hallucinations were, in the waking state, good 
visualisers, and they believe that persons who have the power of 
visualising are more susceptible of visual hallucinations than others. 
The two things, however, do not necessarily go together. One of 
the ladies Avhose crystal-seeing experiments Mr. Myers gives in 
Proceedings, S.P.E.., Vol. VIII., p. 499. — Miss A. — who, moreover, 
has frequently spontaneous visual hallucinations as well as those 
she induces in the crystal, tells us that she is not a good visualiser ; 
and many good visualisers do not see hallucinations. We should 
have liked to ascertain what proportion of the persons who have 
reported visual hallucinations to us are good visualisers ; but 
the question seemed scarcely simple enough to put indiscriminately and 
without oral explanation to those who had not thought of it before ; 
and we "were, moreover, afraid of its increasing the trouble already im- 
posed on our informants, so that we have not attempted any statistical 
inquiry on the subject. The accounts, however, which we have 
received from some of our informants lead us to conclude that the 
power varies considerably, not only in different individuals, but in the 
same individual at different times. It has been especially noticed by 
some persons that they have it in a much greater degree just before 
going to sleep, and in the condition between sleeping and waking. 
Mr. Galton gives two instances of this from bad visualisers. (Op. cit., 
p. 91.) The following communications have been received by ourselves 
on the subject. 

November 2Sth, 1891. 

"Dear Me. Myers, — Since hearing your paper on the Subliminal Self, I 
have been making observations, as you suggested one should, on my power 
of visualising just before going to sleep, and I find that at this time the 
power is extraordinarily increased, so that scenes which at ordinary times 
present themselves to me in fragments appear as if they were really before 
me : I was myself quite surprised at the result. 

"C. C." 

IV.] Hallucinations and Pseudo- Hallucinations. 93 

"When falling asleep, and especially when dozing in a chair, my 
visualising powers are raised abo^'e their normal level. Visualised scenes, 
of the nature of dreams, but partly under control, take the place of what is 
going on in the room, or mix themselves up with it. 

" H. Babington Smith." 

Mrs. H. Sidgwick writes : — 

"My ordinary visual mental images are extremely vague. They exist, — it 
is, for instance, often by a vague visual impression of its place in a shelf 
that I can find a book, — but they are fragmentary and indefinite. I cannot 
recall clearly the faces most familiar to me. (Jccasionally, however, when 
half asleep, I have a flash of good visualisation. I remember one occasion. 
I was half asleep and had before me the usual vague kind of image of a 
number of persons, and, among them, one whose aspect I was very familiar 
with ; when suddenly, and for a brief moment, this person's image came to my 
mental vision in a perfectly distinct and definite form, as clear and detailed 
as if he had been actually before me in the flesh, and altogether diSerent 
from the previous vague image of him. This instance was more or less in- 
voluntary, and verges, therefore, I suppose, on a pseudo-hallucination ; but 
I also am sometimes able when half asleep to call up, voluntarily, clearer 
visual images than my ordinary waking ones." 

This increase of visualising power under conditions known to be 
favourable to pseudo-hallucinations looks as if the two things were 
related, at least to some extent, but it would not necessarily follow 
that genuine hallucinations were also related to general visualising 

94 Report on the Census of Hallucinations. [chap. 

Chapter V. 


In the last chapter we had to distinguish between hallucinations 
and non-externalised mental images. In this we have to deal with 
the limits of the class of hallucinations on the other side, and to 
discuss those cases where the doubt is not as to externalisation, 
but as to whether what is experienced is not merely an illusion, in 
which some real object is perceived, but misinterpreted as something 

The following are good instances of well-observed illusions. As 
such they would, of course, be excluded from our statistics. 

(703. 5.) From Professor W. R. Sorley. 

Cardiff, Jxtly 29th, 1891. 

"Lying in bed, facing the window, and opening my eyes voluntarily in 
order to drive away the imagery of an unpleasant dream which was begin- 
ning to revive, I saw the figure of a man, some three or four feet distant 
from my head, standing perfectly still by the bedstead, so close to it that 
the bedclothes seemed slightly puslied towards me by his leg pressing 
against them. The image was perfectly distinct— height about live feet 
eight inches, sallow complexion, grey eyes, greyish moustache, short and 
bristly, and apparently recently clipped. His dress seemed like a dark grey 
dressing-gown, tied with a dark red rope. 

"My first thought was, 'That's a ghost' ; my second, 'It may be a 
burglar whose designs upon my watch are interrupted by my opening my 
eyes.' I bent forward towards him, and the image vanished. 

1 There is an experience with which we are all familiar, which is not an illusion 
in exactly the same sense as the above, since it involves no erroneous inference from 
what is seen, but which is instructive in considering the process involved in such 
illusions. The experience we mean is the interpretation of a pattern in either of two 
different ways at will, as when we see a rose on a wall paper, either as a face or a rose, as 
we choose. The most striking examples are the drawings in black and white, which have 
been a good deal sold of late years, which are so drawn as to represent two distinct 
things at the same time ; for instance, one drawing may be either seen as a half-length 
pictvire of a coquettish looking young woman, or as the head of a cross old crone. 
Having seen the picture in one way, it is often only by a considerable effort that we 
can interpret it in its other equally real meaning, and then it is only by a similar 
effort that we can return to the first view. 

When one of the interpretations is unreal, or unintended, as is, of course, the 
case when we are concerned with the ordinary objects or patterns surrounding us, 
it may vary with the condition of our eyesight, or other circumstances. A friend of 
ours informs us that on one occasion, when lying in bed unwell, and with 
temperature somewhat above the normal, the patterns on his wall paper, the folds of 
his curtains, &c., made themselves up into numerous very definite and quite per- 
sistent figures, which he was quite unable to reproduce when his illness was over. 

The following is a curious experience apparently of this character, in which the 

v.] Relation of Illusions to Hallucinations. 


" As the image vanished, my attention passed to a shadow on the wall, 
twice or three times the distance off, and perhaps twelve feet high. There 
was a gas lamp in the mews-lane outside, which shed a light through the 
lower twelve inches or so of the (fii'st-floor) window, over which the blind 
had not been completely drawn, and the shadow was cast by the curtain 
hanging beside the window. The solitary bit of colour in the image — the 
red Tope of the dressing-gown — was immediately afterwards identified with 
the twisted mahogany handle of the dressing-table, which was in the same 
line of vision as part of the shadow. 

"Place : 51 (?), Torrington-square, London, W.C. Time: About the 
end of November (?), 1886, probably 2 a.m. 

"I had just had an unpleasant dream (quite unconnected with the 
image), and, on awaking, had turned round to lie on the other side, thus 
facing the window. 

"If my recollection serves me rightly, I had that evening been discussing 
appai'itions and illusions with Professor Croom Robertson and Mr. Carveth 
Read. Age 31. 

' ' I wondered very much afterwards that I had not identified the image 
with my brother, who is about the same general build and height, and wears 
a short moustache, which he sometimes clips. Probably the identification 
was prevented by the burglar-scare occurring to me. I did not think at the 
time of any one in connection with the image. 

" \V. R. SORLEY." 

From Miss W. 

" One evening at dusk I went into my bedroom to fetch something I 
wanted off the mantelpiece. A street lamp threw a slanting ray of light 
in at the window, just sufficient to enable me to discern the dim outline of 
the chief articles of furniture in the room. I was cautiously feeling for 
what I wanted when, partially turning round , I perceived at a short distance 
behind me the figure of a little old lady, sitting very sedately with her hands 

influence causing the illusion is regarded by the percipient as telepathic. It reached 
us independently of the Census. Mrs. W. writes: — 

' ' In 1873 we were moved to Montsioa's country, my husband having been 
appointed missionary to that chief. Our home was at Mafiking. My two eldest 
girls, Eva and Jessie, seven and nine years of age, were in Grahamstown at school. 
While travelling to the chief's great place in July — we were having breakfast— as I 
looked at my little Celia instead of seeing Celia's face, I saw my Jessie's face quite 
plainly, and wondered at the time, because the children did not resemble each other, 
and I had not seen Jessie since August, 1872. We all went to chapel, and each time 
I looked at Celia, I saw Jessie's face. I remarked to my husband how strange it was ; 
he replied, ' And they are not alike, are they ? ' And so on at intervals during all 
the four days' journey. I felt troubled about it, for we were so far from any post, 
and from my dear child. She seemed somehow to be near me. I began to wonder 
why no letters came. After a while I did not see her face so plainly, but always 
when I looked at Celia, this continued at intervals, far into August. In September 
we got letters from Grahamstown telling us how dangerously ill Jessie had been, 
for days hovering between life and death ; how they would not write until they knew 
what it was to be, life or death ; then they told of restoration to health. Then I said 
to my husband, ' That accounts for the strange feelings I have had about Jessie, and 
seeing her so often before me.' I was always wide awake, no dreams of the night. 
It is now nearly 19 years ago. 

96 Report on the Census of Hallucinations. [chap. 

folded in her lap, holding ;i white pocket-handkerchief. I was much startled, 
for I had not before seen anyone in the room, and called out ' Who's that?' 
but received no answer, and, turning quite round to face my visitor, she 
immediately vanished from sight. 'Well,' I thought, 'this is strange!' 
I had left all the rest of the household downstairs ; it was hardly possible 
that anyone could have followed me into the room without my being aware 
of it, and besides, the old lady was quite different from anyone I had ever 
.seen. Being very near-sighted, I began to think my eyes had played me a 
trick ; so I resumed my search in as nearly as possible the same position as 
before, and having succeeded, was turning to come away when lo ! and 
behold ! there sat the little old lady as distinct as ever, with her funny little 
cap, dark dress, and hands folded demurely over her white handkerchief. 
This time I turned round quickly and marched up to the apparition, which 
vanished as suddenly as before. And now being convinced that no one was 
playing me any trick, I determined to find out, if possible, the why and 
because of the mystery. Slowly resuming my former position by the fire- 
place, and again perceiving the figure, I moved my head slightly from side to 
side, and found that it did the same. I then went slowly backwards, keeping 
my head still until I again reached the place, when deliberately turning 
round the mystery was solved. 

" A small, polished, mahogany stand near the window, which I used as a 
cupboard for various trifles, made the body of the figure, a piece of paper 
hanging from the partly-open door serving as the handkerchief ; a vase on 
the top formed the head and head- dress, and the slanting light falling upon 
it, and the white curtain of the window completed the illusion. I destroyed 
and re-made the figure several times, and was surprised to find how distinct 
it appeared when the exact relative positions were maintained." 

With less good observers, or less favourable circumstances for 
observation, it is clear that these illusions might never have been re- 
solved into their constituent elements and might have been permanently 
taken for hallucinations. It is, therefore, not improbable that some 
of the cases reported to us as hallucinations were really illusions, and, 
this being so, it becomes important to consider under what conditions 
the mistake is likely to occur. 

Imperfect vision of the object misinterpreted is the general condi- 
tion of such experiences, and this may occur [a) owing to the light 
being bad, as in the cases we have quoted ; oi', (6) owing to defects of 
the eyes, such as astigmatism and short sight. For instance, a short- 
sighted friend of ours tells us that she has several'times mistaken a cer- 
tain projecting corner of a rough stone wall for a lady with flounced 
skirts. The following account also illustrates the effect of short-sight, 
and gives a probable explanation of some curious auditory illusions. 

(251. 1.) From Miss S. H. 

November 28th, 1889. 
' ' I consider the whole class of this kind of mental phenomena to be of 
the nature of dreaming. I am constitutionally a regular and sound sleeper. 

v.] Relation of Illusions to Hallucinations. 97 

But any occurring disturbance in health, either of body or mind, occasions 
dreams ; besides which I am aware of an intermediate state between torpor 
and full activity of functions, which is apt often to run into the semi- 
drea,ming which retains consciousness of being such. And this midway 
state grows upon me with age. It chiefly concerns sounds, while for some 
little time past I have been tending towards deafness ; but it also respects 
partially my sense of sight, while I have known myself from early youth to 
be short-sighted. I should not know my own sister by her features across a 
room, judging people generally by their dress and mode of walking. I am, 
however, very imaginative, and it often happens to me, now that we two are 
living alone together, either to see her seated in a corner of our sitting- 
room as I enter it, when she is not there, or to miss seeing her when she is 
there. But I am much more affected as to sounds. We Imve lived at two 

houses in C , first at B , and now at the Cottage ; while near to both, 

but almost close to the latter, runs the N line of railway, and many 

have been the startling dreams that its night-trains have wakened me up 

into, especially if I have been weak in health. This began when at B . I 

was confined to bed with bronchitis. I noticed time after time that my 
sister seemed to run hastily from her bedroom straight into her dressing- 
room, on the other side of the wall against which my own bed was placed, 
stop at her toilet stand, to fetch, as I supposed, some medicine or something 
wanted by her husband, and then return to him as hastily. After several 
repetitions, I mentioned it to her ; she denied having done anything of the 
kind, and said, ' Of course it was the train.' I did not at once see a corre- 
spondence to my experience, and knew not how to accept her explanation, 
till I came to remember the bridge that crosses the road passed by the train. 
Here was actually the sufficing cause for the midway stoppage, and the 
advancing and retreating rushes which afforded the noticed perspective of 
sound. But since we have lived at the Cottage we lose the effect of the 
bridge, and have only the sudden bursting one, and then the retreating 
rush. Soon after our removal, I remember in particular being once 
startled up, and supposing that a man was running in a violent passion 
of anger along the passage behind my bed. Recently, my sound-delusions 
attach [themselves] to many sorts of common movements ; any stir of 
furniture or blast of wind supplies to itself suggested words. I will now 
repeat and analyse [one] special instance of this semi-dreaming as to which I 
believe I can safely trust my memory. 

' ' [It] was at B , at a time when my bedroom was on an upper 

story, just over that of Mr. and Mrs. B. In the darkness of early 
morning I was suddenly roused by what seemed to me a voice calling, 

'S !' I jumped out of bed, and leaned over the banister on the 

landing, crying out, ' What is it ? do you want me ? ' and even ran down and 
opened the bedroom door of my sister, asking the same question. ' No,' 
they had not called me, and sent me back to bed. And as I lay there I 
reflected how inevitably, if I had been superstitious, I should have taken it 
for granted that the voice heard was one of warning from my mother, who 
had died some time before. But it turned out that Mr. B. had that morn- 
ing risen to draw up his window-blind, that he might be able to read in bed 
when the dawn should come. It must have been that blind's drawing-up 
which I heard call to me ' S I " 



Report on the Census of Hallucinations. [chap. 

Again, (c) the imperfect vision may be owing to the distance of 
the object seen. Of course, distance may easily lead to a mistake of 
identity, but this is almost too obvious to need saying, and a percipient 
M^ould seldom rest his belief that he had seen a hallucination merely on 
the fact that he thought he saw a friend who could not have been in 
the place, unless the distance was small enough to make any question 
as to distinctness of vision seem aljsurd. But there is another way in 
which illusions may arise from distance ; a figure may disappear in a 
manner that seems quite unaccountable, when it has really only been 
hidden by some object whose exact relative position is not apprehended. 
We have no instance of an illusion proved to have arisen in this way, 
but the following case, in which one precipient is sure that the experi- 
ence can be thus explained, and the other percipient is equally sure 
that it cannot, will serve well to illustz'ate the point. 

(.56. 18.) From Miss E. R. B. 

(The account was written in 1889.) 

"On a summer evening in daylight, in or about the j^ear 1867, I was 
walking with my father and sister between the North and South Camp, 
Aldershot, on a sandy, open space. Behind us we heard footsteps, and 
looking back saw a soldier, who followed us some few yards, when we missed 
him, and turning could not see him, so went back to look for him, but he 
was nowhere to he seen. 

" I was out for a walk, in my usual health and spirits. 

" Personally the soldier was quite unknown. 

" My companions were my father and sister ; both saw what I did. I 
am unable to say whether the former had any fixed opinion about it. The 
latter has always tliought it a real soldier that somehow got away." 

[In this case we have allowed the view of the more sceptical sister to 
prevail, and have not included the case in our tables.] 

Errors from this cause — vision imperfect owing to distance — are 
more likely to occur when the percipient is out of doors than under 
other circumstances, both because persons are then liable to be seen at 
greater distances than they can be indoors, and because possible inter- 
vening obstacles are liable to be less known and familiar, as well as 
more distant. 

A fourth kind of imperfect vision (d) is due to the object seen 
being in the outer part of the field of sight. We have probably all 
of us at times imagined that we saw some person or thing out of the 
corner of our eye, which, on turning round, we found not to be there. 
When a supposed hallucination is thus seen out of the corner of the 
eye, it is generally felt to be a trivial and unimpressive experience,, 
and this, combined with frequent doubt on our informant's part as to- 
whether the experience was a hallucination or an illusion, has, we 

v.] Relation of Illusions to Hallucinations. 99 

believe, led to very imperfect returns under this bead. For this 
reason we have, as explained in Chapter II., p. 37, left out of our 
tables all supposed hallucinations seen out of the corner of the eye. 

It is not easy to estimate the extent to which the other three 
causes of indistinct vision may have led to permanent errors. Probably 
the second — defective eyesight — is the least important by itself, as 
those who suffer fi'om it are in the habit of mistrusting and correcting 
their impressions, and, moreover, they correct the defects as far as 
possible with glasses. Defective eyesight would, however, sometimes 
enhance the drawbacks of feeble light. 

Illusions seem to be relatively frequent just after waking from sleep. 
The small amount of light which there often is in the room under these 
circumstances would, of course, largely account for this, but other 
causes may also operate, such as the want of rapid adjustment of 
the eyes immediately after waking and the want of complete alertness 
of the judgment. To these would be added for short-sighted people 
the absence of spectacles ; and for persons in general there would often 
be the loss of the important aid in judging of distance and solidity 
which is given by binocular vision, since, when a person lies on one 
side, one eye is apt to be buried in the pillow. 

On the whole, it is obvious that poor light may be a very fruitful 
source of error, and though unmistakable hallucinations do of course 
sometimes occur in bad light, (as for instance No. 192. 21, p. 139), 
all alleged hallucinations occurring under these circumstances should 
have their credentials examined with especial care. We cannot say 
that this examination leaves by any means all those included in our 
tables free from suspicion. The following case, for instance, seems a 
somewhat doubtful one, especially as the percipient's expectation of 
seeing his brother would naturally predispose him to a particular 
interpretation of what he saw. 

(145. 9.) From Mr. G. M. C. 

(The account was written in 1892.) 

' ' In rooms of , Cambridge, on entering room expecting to meet 

a brother, [I] saw him distinctly leaning against mantelpiece, the time 
about 10 in the evening, in April, '89, the room only lighted by a fire. On 
looking more closely he was not there. [I was] just entering room. [Age] 
about 19. No [other persons were present.] 

" I was expecting to see him, and was surprised not to find him." 

It appeared to us, however, that it would be useless to attempt 
a numerical estimate of the probable amount of error in our tables due 
to this cause, without a more accurate knowledge than we could hope 
to obtain of the exact circumstances of each case, and of the capacity 
of our informants as observers. But, after carefully considering the 

H 2 

100 Report on the Census of Hallucinations. [chap. 

reports sent to us, we have come to the conclusion that, in about 
ninety per cent, of the visual cases, — certainly not less — the circum- 
stances reported afford no ground for the supposition that a real person 
or thing was mistaken for a hallucination. The proportion of cases 
open to doubt is, as already stated in Chapter III. (p. 65), consider- 
ably larger among the more recent cases than among the remoter ones. 

There is a small class of apparitions in which the repeated reappear- 
ance of the same figure in the same place, as seen from the same point 
of view, like the illusion described on pp. 95-6, strongly suggests 
that some real effect of light and shade, or some real object, is con- 
tinually misinterpreted in the same way, and that there is no genuine 
hallucination. The following is a case in point. 

(196. 2.) From Miss H. M. 

{The account was written in 1889.) 

"I think it was about two years ago, in the winter, at about 6.30 or 
perhaps earlier, but it was too dark to distinguish anything clearly. I was 
coming up a steep lonely bit of road about 300 yards from our own house, 
and I saw just ahead of me what looked like a person in some light clothes ; 
it looked like a man in a smock-frock, and though it was too dark to dis- 
tinguish details, the figure was distinctly light against the hedge on the side 
of the road. T watched the figure walking up in front of me, but thought 
it nothing at all strange, until at a slight bend in the road it entirely dis- 
appeared, though I looked all about for it. I was driving with my sister in 
a pony dog-cart ; either she or I was driving, I don't remember which, but 
we were going only at a foot's pace. 

" It was too dark to see anything but that it was a human figure moving 
up the hill, and keeping at about the same distance from us. I concluded it 
was a farm labourer, partly because this would be most probable, and partly 
because the upper part of the figure was lighter than the lower part, which 
gave the impression of its wearing a smock-frock. 

" My sister was with me and saw the figure also. We knew the road 
was said to be haunted, but we are so accustomed to this bit of road at all 
hours that this fact was not at all in our minds. The figure looked so 
absolutely natural, that I was much surprised at its disappearance. 

' ' This is the only time I have had this experience, though I have often 
come up the road in the dark since, and have always looked out for the 

The other percipient, Miss M. M., writes : — 

March m,. 1892. 

"One night I was driving home with my sister in a small pony cart, and 
I saw walking up the hill in front of us what looked like a man in a smock- 
frock ; quite suddenly he vanished, and I thought it rather odd and that 
what I had seen could not have really been a man. I then found my sister 
had also seen the figure, and that she had the same feeling about its being 

" We were further puzzled by hearing that my father and brother had also 
seen the figure, and that he always vanished about the same place. 

v.] Relation of Illusions to Hallucinations. 101 

"I cannot remember who saw him first, and I have never seen him again." 

Besides the above, we have accounts from Mr. M and his son, 

who have also seen on different occasions, twice each, a figure which 
they describe as like a man in a smock-frock, in the same place, at night, 
under similar circumstances, disappearing in the same mysterious way. 
Neither of them had heard of the experiences of any of the others until 
after his own. 

Mrs. Sidgwick writes : — 

Fehruarij 25th, 1892. 

"I have- this evening talked over the apparition with Miss M. M 

and her father. He has seen it twice at least ; she once with Miss H. 

M , and her brother has recently seen it again. It is always seen in the 

same place and disappears suddenly at the same place. Always seen in the 
evening, but it has not been observed whether it is always with the moon in 
the same position, &c. The darkness has always been too great for distinct 
vision. It is diiBcult to suppose it a shadow because of the space over 
which it appears to move. But that it is some effect of light and shade is, 
they think, considering its uniformly appearing and disappearing in the 
same place and in a faint light, the most probable hypothesis. 

'* It seems likely that others may have seen it ; for once Miss M. M 

was going up the hill in a pretty good light, following a farmer and his wife 
well known to her. The farmer's wife looked round, caught sight of Miss 
M , and threw herself into her husband's arms, screaming as if with fright. 

"I went over the ground of the ghost with Miss M . Certainly 

seeing the place does not explain it ; it is a rather open place — hedges on 
each side and only a few hedgerow trees. The ghost walks about fifty yards 
in front of the percipients and continues visible for, say, one hundred 
yards, and then disappears near some farm buildings.'' 

The first apparition described in the next case is even more de- 
cidedly like the illusion of pp. 95-6. We have been unable to obtain 
first-hand evidence from the other percipients mentioned in this narra- 
tive. The appearance of a similar figure on the second occasion may 
have been due to expectancy, intensified by the general alarm of the 

(588. 22.) From Miss F. Lewitt. 

The Downs, St. Neots, February 2nd, 1892. 
" The following story has this morning been told Miss C. Cochrane [the 
collector] by her father's housemaid (lately come), a quiet, steady young 
woman who came with a good character, and appears perfectly truthful. 
She was quiet and thoughtful while telling the story (assisted by questions 
from Miss C. Cochrane). Miss Cochrane then arranged the wording of the 
story and read it to Fanny Lewitt, who said it was quite right, and then 
signed it. 

Fanny Lewitt's Story. 
" In the month of December, 1889, I was living as nurse with Mr. and 
Mrs. Bodley, at Alveston Hall, Nantwich, Cheshire. I was 25 years of age, 


Report on the Census of Hallucinations. [chap. 

and had been there three years, first as housemaid, then as nurse. I had 
not heard anything about the house being haunted. One evening, shortly 
before Christmas, I was rocking the baby's cradle in the night-nursery at 
about 9 p.m., while the family were at dinner. The night-nursery opened 
into a passage with the school-room at the other end. The passage was 
partly lit by a lamp on the landing below. The night-nursery door was 
open at the time, and at the end of the passage I observed a strange middle- 
aged lady in white evening dress, with her side face towards me, standing 
against the school-room door, leaning her face on her hand. I watched her 
for a moment, and then went out to see who it was and what she wanted, 
but as I drew near she vanislied away. I then went back to the baby, when 
there was the lady standing as before ; I went out to her again, and again 
she vanished. After repeating this a third time I felt frightened, and did 
not look towards the door again, and T did not see the figure again that 
night. When I went downstairs I told the other servants what I had seen, 
and the housemaid then said that the governess had been complaining that 
some one always shook or opened her door when she was dressing for dinner, 
but no one could be found who had done it. The next morning, early, just 
before getting up, the housemaid saw a middle-aged lady in short petticoats, 
with something over Iier head, standing in the room. Two other maids slept 
in the room, but were not awake. The housemaid watched the apparition for 
a few moments, and then hid her head under the bed-clothes. About this 
time, the day before Christmas, the governess went away for her holidays, 
and the housemaid shut up her room and locked the door at night, but for 
several mornings afterwards, on going to unlock the door, she found it 
already open. She then told her mistress, and Mr. Bodley himself locked 
the door that night and put the key away, saying he would unlock it in the 
morning ; but in the morning, when he went to do so, the door was open, 
and the key in the lock. The coachman was then put into the room to 
watch all night, and he said next morning that he had seen nothing, but had 
heard loud noises, and the door shook and the crockery rattled. The day 
after this, or the same evening (T forget which), at about 5.30 p.m., I again 
saw the same strange lady standing in the passage in the same position, only 
this time she was near tlie niglit-nursery door, and was wearing a morning 
grey dress, her pi-ohle towards me. I was carrying some linen out into the 
passage, and fell back startled and frightened, when the figure disappeared. 
I told my mistress what I had again seen, and she was so frightened that 
the whole family and myself left the house the next day, Sunday, 
January the 1st. 1890, and the servants on Monday, and did not retui-n to 
it again. 

"Fanny Lewitt." 

Notwithstanding the possibility of regarding the apparitions in 
the two cases last described as illusions, we have, on the whole, 
thought it right to reckon them as subjective cases of hallucination.^ 

The two following cases we included with somewhat less hesitation ; 

^ Some cases rather similar to these were given in the Journal of the S.P.R., Vol. 
v., pp. 323-325. 

v.] Relation of Illusions to Hallucinations. 103 

although in the first there is the same feature of recurrence at a 
particular spot as seen from a particular point of view. But its 
occurrence in full daylight makes it comparatively unlikely that it was 
a mere illusion — especially as a similar condition of health in the 
percipient had been accompanied by a hallucination on a previous 

(460. 14.) From Professor G. 

Fehruary llth, 1891. 

"Saw an old woman with red cloak, nursing a child in her arms. She 
sat on a boulder. Place : a grassy moor or upland, near Shotts in Lanark- 
shire. Date : over twenty years ago. Early autumn, in bright sunny 
weather. Made several attempts to reach her, but she always vanished 
before I could get close up to the stone. Place far from any dwelling, and 
no spot where anyone could be concealed. 

' ' [I was] walking ; had been slightly troubled with insomnia — which 
afterwards became much worse. Age about 30. 

'• No one [was with me]. I heard a vague report that a woman with red 
cloak was sometimes seen on the moor. Can't now remember whether I had 
heard of that report before I saw the figure — but think I had not. 

' Saw many years ago (age about 21), a dog sitting beside me in my 
room : saw this ouly once : was troubled slightly witli insomnia at the 
time, which became worse afterwards." 

The percipient's own view, the collector tells us, is that the experience 
on the moor was ' ' entirely due to ' nerves, ' as both then and previously 
when he saw the dog, he had been much overworked, and in each case a 
severe illness followed." 

In the next case, the fact that the percipient could go close up to 
the figure without its disappearing, makes it almost certain that, 
notwithstanding its recurrence night after night in the same place, it 
was a hallucination. An illusion would almost necessarily have been 
dispelled by so close an examination, and so complete a change in the 
point of view. 

(643. 22. ) From Mrs. Wilson, Westal, Cheltenham. 

April 2Wi, 1892. 

"I saw the figure of a ghost-like transparent draped woman always 
standing at a certain spot on a landing near my room at night when I 
passed. The apparition was exactly like a certain ghost described to me by 
a teller of ghost-stories. The tale was told me the night one of my babies 
was at death's door. 

' ' [I was] nursing an infant of six months, and sitting up for three weeks, 
in turns with my husband, with another child of 16 months, who was hoije- 
lessly ill. Health good. Age 35. 

" It was merely the form told of in the ghastly story, blue, transparent, 


Report on the Gemus of Hallucinations. [chap. 

"I was ashamed of my weakness and spoke little of it ; it stood 
to meet me as I came out of my room, going up stairs, at any hour of 
the night, to nurse the baby. I never asked anyone to come and look 
at it. I often went up to it and put my hand through it, which assured 
me of its being merely brought [on] by my unstrung nerves, sorrow, 
and fatigue. 

' ' I often think of it now as I pass, and remember the horror of it 
merely as a memory ; it worried me for some weeks — five or six. 

" Mary A. Wilson." 

This experience is no doubt attributable to the mental and physical 
strain under which the percipient was living, and its recurrence ^ in 
the particular spot would be accounted for by association of ideas 
and expectancy. 

Another case of what was probably a hallucination, recurring in 
the same spot, will be found in A2)2)''ndix D, in the course of an 
interesting hallucinatory history to which we shall have to refer more 
than once. The percipient, who was at the time, as it turned out, 
sickening for an illness, saw, whenever she looked towards it, a black 
dog sitting in a corner of the stairs. The case, however, differs from 
the last in that she appears to have seen the phantom only from a 
particular landing. 

The following is a recurring illusion of, we believe, a rare type, its 
recurrence not depending on a constant objective basis. The percipient 
tells us that there had been a special sympathy between her and the 
sister spoken of. 

(407. 2.) From Miss M. H.- 

November Qth, 1890. 
" Always, in my room at night, the reflection of a light or of the moon, 
or anything white against the darkness, assumes the figure of a younger 
sister, who died a few years ago ; and whether she seems dressed in white or 
in a dark brown (and she is always in either one or the other), her hair is 
long and flowing, as she had not worn it for several years before her death. 
Except for this circumstance, which I noted with some curiosity, I always 
regai'ded it as a memory ' materialising.' " 

A case like this, though we have classed it, in accordance with the 
percipient's view of it, as an illusion and not as a hallucination, seems 
to be almost on the line between the two, and we have introduced it here 

1 Recurrence is a feature much commoner among hallucinations experienced 
during some degree of ill-health than among those of normal health (see p. 164). 

- Miss H, has also experienced a visual hallucination of a dying friend (see 
p. 250, foot-note). 

Relation of Illusions to Hallucinations. 


to illustrate the transition.^ It is hard to conceive how an illusion^ 
produced under such varying conditions, should constantly assume the 
distinct likeness of a familiar human figure, unless the misinterpre- 
tation of sense-percepts is aided by a tendency to externalize an image 
with which the mind is much occupied. 

The following case is similarly transitional. 

(69. 14.) From Mr. W. S. 

May 2m, 1889. 

" When I was about 18 or 20, I was travelling in the Highlands with 
my father and three other gentlemen. About ten miles on this side of 
Ballachulish ferry, he left me, saying that he would walk on towards the 
ferry, with one of the gentlemen. After half an hour's delay, we drove- 
on in the carriage, eagerly looking out for my father, for the night was at 
hand ; he was a bad walker, and his comrade was a very reckless person. 
We saw no sign of him, nor had any one of the few travellers and shepherds 
whom we met. At last we got to Ballachulish ; lie was not there. I became 
painfully anxious, and sat down for a minute in the parlour of the little- 
inn to consider what we should do. One of my hands, I remember, was 
pressed over my eyes. I took it away, and then I saw, floating, as it were, 
between me and the mantel-piece, the upper half of my father's body. 

"Do not be shocked when I tell you that the scientific element in me 
was too nmch for the religious, superstitious, afiectionate — or whatever you. 
choose to call it. I said to myself, ' By Jove ; here's an apparition I Let's 
see how it can be explained. ' So I looked steadily at my half-ghost, and 
saw how a spot in the mantelpiece, a knot in the wainscot, &c., &c., had 
combined to produce the spectral appearance. While I was doing this, the 
outlines became blurred, and the whole thing faded away. 

"Five minutes afterwards my father arrived. He had left the road^ 
gone up a corrie, bathed in a linn, and nearly been drowned. 

"If he had been drowned, I should probably have believed in ghosts, or- 
at all events in half ghosts, ever after." 

In this case, according to our informant's description, the figure 
did not resolve itself into the marks and knots on the background. 

1 A quasi-hallucinatory illusion of this sort may explain some of the e.xtra- 
ordinary recognitions of supposed materialised spirits that are liable to occur at 
spiritualistic st^ances. The following is an instance quoted b}- D. D. Home (Li jhts 
and Shadoios of Spiritualism, p. 342.) as the confession of an exposed medium : — "Th& 
first seance I held after it became known to the Rochester people that I was a 
medium, a gentleman from Chicago recognised his daughter Lizzie in me after I had 
covered my small moustache with a piece of flesh-coloured cloth, and reduced the 
size of my face with a shawl I had purposely hung up in the back of the cabinet. 
From this sitting my fame commenced to spread. " 

Professor Sorley's remarks (see p. 95) as to the resemblance of the illusory figure- 
he saw to his brother, for whom he might have taken it if his mind had not been 
occupied with another fidea — namely, that of a [)ossible burglar— are instructive in 
this connection. 

106 Report on the Census of Hallucinations. [chap. 

which had aided in its formation, but remained for a short time as a 
shadowy image while the percipient was contemplating these. The 
experience thus had a distinctly hallucinatory element, and we have 
accordingly classed it as a hallucination. 

In the next case, the hallucinatory element is more obvious and 
predominant, though it is at first attached to a basis of actual 

(722. 5.) From Mme. A. H. 

(The account was apparently written in 1891.) 

" C'etait en I'annee 1884, Mme. A H— — , alors jeune fille de 20 ans, 

■demeurait avec sa mere, veuve, a Moscou. La soeur amee d'A , Mme. 

H S ,dont le mari etait malade depuis quelque temps, occupait une 

autre maison non loin de Ik. Le malade mourut la nuit du 23 Mai, et sa 
mort attrista profondement toute la famille qui Fadorait. Le lendemain de 

ce jour, A se trouvait au salon de sa mei'e, oil sa sceur venue chez elles 

s'etait endormie dans un fauteuil. II etait environ 8 heures du soir, et le jour 
•commen9ait a baisser. Les pensees de la jeune tille ^taient tristes, et se 
portaient au defunt, dent le corps n'^tait pas encore enterrd, et pose dans 
son cercueil, restait encore au logement qu'il avait habite. Le regard 

d'A tomba sur le rideau en tulle qui masquait la fenetre, et dans les plis 

de ce rideau elle vit apparaitve la figure de son beau-frere. L'apparition tres 

indistmcte d'abord se fit plus nette, et bientot A vit distinctement son 

beau-frere de la tete aux pieds dans son habit de tous les jours. II 
paraissait regarder sa femme qui continuait a dormir. D'un geste silencieux 

A I'invita a s'appi'ocher de la dormeuse, mais l'apparition fit de la tete 

un signe negatif et disparut." 

In the following case, analogous to crystal-vision, the same kind of 
thing occurs — the real reflections in the carafe serving as a basis for 
what ultimately becomes a definite hallucinatory vision. (The first 
experience is somewhat different, but it is convenient to give the whole 
narrative intact). 

(406. 25.) From Mr. W. A. C. 

May 9ih, 1891. 

" Some few weeks ago I was at a Spiritualist service. Au uneducated man 
was reading a very long and rather wearisome account of how he felt when 
in a trance. I thought I would improve the time by looking for visions, 
which it seemed a good Spiritualist ought to see. I fixed my attention on a 
darkened space under the table, and near it was the foot of the reader. 
This you can take as the suggestion, for suddenly I saw another foot near it 
in the air. The upper part was outlined in light and the marks of the lacing 
were also short lines of light. The whole foot was, however, perfectly 
distinct. It was not unlike the real foot near it, which was about eighteen 
inches distant. I gave a sudden start, which showed me that I was getting 
into a semi-unconscious state with my eyes open and fixed, and the start 
was to shake it oft". 

v.] Relation of Illusions to Hallucinations. 107 

" I then turned my attention to a round-globed carafe of water on the 
table, still in search of visions. Presently the various reflections in it 
took [a] form, [sketch enclosed] [which] reminded me of the view from 
my native place in the West Indies, only there should have been a 
line of sea. This I looked for, and presently it came. While thinking 
how remarkably like to the reality it was, (and, perhaps, also think- 
ing of ships on the sea, though I am not conscious now of having done 
so), I suddenly saw a vessel which seemed to be shipwrecked. And now 
a curious chain of thought went leisurely through my mind, as I critically 
surveyed the scene. The ship seemed in full sail and was heeling over 
as shown. Now I had been to sea and I knew the following. A sailing 
ship had no right to be so near the land unless an off-shore wind was blow- 
ing. But if so, how did it get wrecked ? The only conclusion possible 
was that it had been sailing near to the land with an off-shore wind, and had 
struck on a hidden rock. This seemed certain, for, had it been otherwise, 
the ship should have been heeling over to the land, and not from it. Also, 
the wreck was not caused by a storm, or the ship would not have been 
under fall sail, and besides, the sea appeared calm. All seemed to turn 
on which way the wind had been blowing, and this I wanted to find out. 
I turned my attention to the dark foreground to see if there were any trees 
waving in the wind, but they appeared too far away to give a clue. 1 looked 
again at the ship, still speculating, when suddenly I saw what looked like a 
small cloud of vapour streaming from it. It was of a grey colour, though I do 
not think it was meant for smoke or steam. It seemed to be only a sign to me 
that the wind must be blowing in the direction in which it was drifting. 

" No sooner had I accepted this as the answer to my query, than the whole 
scene vanished. All the lines in the glass seemed to run swiftly together, 
and as I looked, they took the form of a face. At first it had a painful look, 
such as I saw once on the face of a drowned man ; but presently it got 
clearer, and I thought I knew it. It was sloping thus. This," perhaps, 
directed my attention to the fact that it was the face of a man who was 
sitting [on one side of it]. It was not a reflection of him, for in a globe 
such could only be in miniature, and this filled the glass ; besides, when it 
vanished, as it did as soon as I had made sure of it, there was no such 
reflection there, and I could not even imagine one. The man I had never 
spoken to. 

" All the above happened when I was wide awake and quite conscious 
of my whereabouts." 

Cases such as these suggest that it is easier to build up 
a hallucination from something of the nature of an illusion, 
than to make it up independently of all external objects. And 
experiments support this view. It is often easier to induce a 
hypnotised person to take a real object for something entirely 
different, which the hypnotiser wishes him to see hallucinatorily, than 
it is to give him an independent hallucination. He will often, too, 
when a hallucination is imposed, spontaneously attach it to something 
real— to what MM. Binet and Fere call a, point de repere. 


Report on the Census of Hallucinations. [chap. 

In connection with this, we may refer to some experiments which 
Mr. W. A. Dixey, the well-known optician of New Bond-street, has 
recently carried out with " Miss X.", on the effect of different kinds of 
lenses on her crystal visions, the conditions being arranged so that 
she did not know the normal effects of the lenses on real objects.^ 
In 5 out of 8 experiments, the crystal pictures changed in ap- 
pearance in the same way that real objects would have done on 
applying the lenses, but in the other three the changes that followed 
in the pictures on applying the lenses were not those that would have 
been produced in real objects. 

Mr. Dixey has since repeated these experiments, under as nearly as 
possible the same conditions, with Mrs. Verrall, who found, on apply- 
ing the lenses, that her crystal pictures either disappeared or remained 
unaffected, except in one case, where a temporary enlargement of the 
picture — which was not the normal effect of the lens — took place. 
These negative results are of special interest, because Mrs. Verrall, 
unlike most crystal-seers, is conscious of using 2^oints de repere in her 
visions, and informs us that on this occasion they were more con- 
spicuous to her than usual when the pictures began to develop, 
though, as usual, she lost sight of them when the pictures became fully 

The part played by the j^oint de rejjere may be further illustrated 
from some experiments made by Mrs. Sidgwick in 1889, and described 
from notes made at the time, as follows : — 

The object of the experiments was to ascertain whether a moving 
hallucination would be attached to a. point de repere, and, if so, how it would 
be managed. The person experimented with was a boy named Goade, who 
was hypnotised by Mr. G. A. Smith. Goade having been made to see a 
beetle on a (real) sheet of ])Iain black paper spread out before him, was 
asked to point to it, upon which he pointed to a minute white speck in the 
texture of the paper. He was then with great difficulty persuaded that the 
beetle was running about, and when he did realise this, he traced its course 
from one tiny white speck to another. Whether he saw it between the 

1 See Borderland for January, 1894. The lenses were fitted into four pairs of 
eye-glasses, and, with normal binocular sight, their respective effects on real objects 
at the given distance would have been : (A) to duplicate the object vertically, (B) to 
blur it, (C) no effect, (D) to duplicate the object horizontally. Mr. Dixey handed the 
lenses to "Miss X.", and the eight experiments were as follows: (1) A. gavedistai)ce. 
(2) B , the picture disappeared, but after about a minute the colours became intenser, 
and tlie shadows more defined. (3) C, no difference. (4) D. duplicated the picture 
horizontally. (5) A. duplicated it vertically. (6) A. lowered part of the picture 
(7) D. moved it to the right. (8) B. the picture disappeared In experiments (3) 
(4) and (.5) the results were what they would have been on real objects, while in (6) 
and (7) they were what they would liave been if the right eye only had been looking 
at a real object. In (I) (2) and (8) the effects were not similar to what would have 
lieen produced on real objects. 

v.] Relation of Illusions to Hallucinations. 109 

specks seemed doubtful, for when asked to follow it with his finger, he 
moved the finger rapidly in a straight line between the almost invisible 
white specks and paused at the specks. There was, however, one thing that 
looked as if he saw the beetle in continuous movement, namely, that having 
been told to take care that it did not run off the paper, he from time to time, 
while seemingly watching it, snatched at the edges of the paper, as though 
to turn the insect back. The paper, it should be said, was an ordinary 
sheet of what would generally be called quite black pajjer, without marks 
on it. It required somewhat close observation to notice the specks. 

On a subsequent occasion Goade was given a hallucination of a teeto- 
tum spinning on a (real) sheet of white paper that lay before him. He was 
easily made to see the teetotum, and to revive its spinning from time to 
time by spinning it with his fingers. Mrs. Sidgwick continues : — " I asked 
him to point it out to me, and he then identified a very tiny black smut as 
it. I blew this away, upon which he looked about, saying the teetotum 
had disappeared. I advised him to look on the floor for it, and while he was 
doing so, placed a scrap of black paper about | inch square on the white 
paper, and said ' Oh ! here it is.' He accepted it at once and said 'And ain't 
it grown I' As we blew the scrap of paper about, he followed it with ex- 
citement, and when it fell on the floor, picked it up to replace it on the 
paper, and spun it in imagination more than once, holding his finger and 
thumb above it in doing so. With a little trouble, I succeeded in removing 
it, and making him take a speck of dust for the teetotum instead, and when 
that was blown away, I pointed to an empty space on the paper, and told 
him the teetotum was there. He accepted this after a moment or two, and 
then, I think, saw his teetotum moving about freely, and not attached to 
particular specks. " 

Of course in experiments of this kind, it is a little difficult to feel 
sure how far the hallucination went, and how far it was supplemented 
by the kind of imagination a child exercises when it uses a walking- 
stick for a horse. There was not such conclusive evidence of 
hallucination in this case as one sometimes has with hypnotic subjects. 
The words and gestures of Goade, however, left no doubt at the time 
on the minds of the spectators that he saw a hallucinatory teetotum. 

It seems not improbable that the reason why gazing at a reflecting 
surface, or into a refracting body like a crystal, is found in practice 
to be a way of inducing hallucinations is that convenient jyoints de 
repere without enough meaning of their own to distract attention are thus 
obtained. Such reflecting surfaces are also apparently favourable to 
spontaneous hallucinations. We have seventeen instances in the present 
Census of hallucinations seen in reflecting surfaces, which seems a 
large proportion out of the whole number, i 

1 Of these, one was seen in a ship's compass. No. 4.52. 10. (see p. 238), one in a 
carafe of water, No. 406. 25. ( see p. 106), five in mirrors— (for an instance, spe p. 
187), and ten in windows of which the two sides were unequally Hghted, the 
figure appearing on the darker side, e.g. No. 728, 16. (see p. 309;. 


Report on the Censios of Hallucinations. [chap. 

But, though points de repere may faciUtate the formation of a 
hallucination, there is no ground for supposing that every halluci- 
nation is capable of being regarded as a kind of monstrous illusion. 
Mr. Gurney pointed out in Phantasms of the Living (Vol. I., pp. 470- 
472), how difficult it is to apply such a hypothesis to a ghost standing 
in the middle of the room or moving across it, and the present 
collection certainly supports the view that many hallucinations are 
entirely independent of points de repere, since, in more than half of the 
■\dsual cases, the figure iS seen to move in various ways. 

The following case, which is quite a typical one of a moving 
hallucinatory figure, may be taken as an instance. 

(400.16.) From Mr. A. E. 

March 23rd, 1891. 
"I saw my mother pass from the hall into the card-room which commu- 
nicated both with the hall and the drawing-room. This occurred in 1880 in 
Valparaiso (Chile), the time being about seven in the evening. I was stand- 
ing at the piano, singing, and was in no way out of health or anxious. My 
age would be 14. So struck was I by her going into this room that I stopped 
singing and called her name ; oii going into the room it was empty, and I 
found my mother sitting in the dining-room. My sister was playing for me, 
and remarked that I must be dreaming, as she saw nothing. I never 
experienced anything since or before." 

The collector made further enquiries of Mr. E. as to the details of his 
experience, and wrote to us as follows : — 

"Mr. E. was in the drawing-room [at] the piano, when his mother passed 
witliin a yard of where he sat. He says he saw her distinctly pass him and 
enter the card-room, which said card-room led out of the drawing [room], 
the drawing-room itself opening on to the hall. The card-room was in 
darkness, so he got up, followed the figure, and asked : ' What are you doing 
there in the dark, mother ? ' No voice responding, he immediately went 
and found his mother in the dining-room, which dining-room opened from 
opposite side of hall. She, his mother, laughed, and told him he must have 
been dreaming ; but he certainly was much impressed by the vision, and has 
still a most vivid picture of it in his own mind. His eyesight was, and is, 
very good. " 

The question whether an experience is a hallucination or an illusion 
is from the nature of the case more difficult to decide in auditory than 
in visual cases. Illusions of hearing are extremely common, partly 
because of the difficulty of localising accurately the sources of sounds, 
and partly because the acoustic properties of any locality — especially 
any building — are so complicated that it is, in most cases, practically 
impossible to know what the limits of hearing by ordinary means 
are. One cannot in any case see through a brick wall, but 

v.] Relation of Illusions to Hallucinations. Ill 

whether one can hear through it or not depends on a number of con- 
ditions, which are not easy to determine. Further, the capacity of the 
ear for hearing varies a good deal at dilFerent times in the same 
person ; and a hyperajsthetic state of the ear — such as is reported to 
occur sometimes in the hypnotic state, and in certain cases of ilhiess— 
might extend the ordinary limits of hearing in a way that could not be 
paralleled by any known form of hypersesthesia of vision, because of 
the different nature of the obstacles to perception in the two cases. 

We are therefore inclined to allow considerable scope to the 
possibility that supposed auditory hallucinations are real sounds mis- 
interpreted. This applies especially, among the kinds included in the 
Census, to the type that we have distinguished as "voices," — i.e., the 
hearing of vocal sounds, where definite words do not appear to have 
been heard. It also applies in some degree to hearing the name called, 
since we are so much accustomed to having our attention drawn by 
this means that we are probably always— unconsciously — more or less 
on the watch for it, and may therefoi-e be lialjle to interpret as such 
any sound indistinctly heard. It should be observed, however, that 
the probability of illusion is decidedly less where the voice heard is 
recognised — especially if it is that of a deceased or absent person. 

In some tactile cases, it is also difficult to draw the line between 
hallucination and illusion. Involuntary muscular twitches, for in- 
stance, may give rise to tactile sensations like those ordinarily 
produced by contact with an external body, and the absence of such a 
cause for the sensations could hardly ever be demonstrated. Thus 
one percipient (Dr. J. W., No. 81. 9.) writes:—"! have felt a slight 
sensation as of my shoulder being touched, which is entirely due to 
muscular action." The next case may also be very plausibly put down 
to a similar cause, but as it is impossible to prove that the experience 
was thus produced, we have thought it best to include both these cases 
in our tables as hallucinations of the purely subjective class. 

(50. 12.) From Mr. W. B. 

April mil, 1892. 

"About 2 years ago, age 33, good health, though working hard, I was 
going home from college, and being in a hurry I took a tram car to within 
200 yards of my lodgings. I then left the car and walked smartly about 100 
yards, when I thought I felt some one touch me on the shoulder as if [he] 
wanted to speak to me. The impression was so vivid that I stopped 
suddenly and looked round, when there was no person even near me. I 
thought it strange and began thinking what it could have been. So rum- 
maging through ray muid for a physical cause (it never for a moment struck 
me then, nor even now, that it was ultra-physical) I remembered that I had 
sat on the top of the car with my back leaning against an iron bolt ; and so 
at once concluded that it was simply a muscular contraction due to the 

112 Report on the Census of Hallucinations. [chap. 

pressure of the bolt. The impression of being touched by some one was very 
vivid, and I remembered it at once vi^hen the forin (A) [was put] into my 

The possibility of illusion is not entirely excluded in some of the 
cases where the impression is made on more than one sense, especially 
when the affection of one of the senses is of an indefinite or rudimen- 
tary kind; for instance, when non-vocal sounds, as foot-steps, are heard 
accompanying an apparition. In 56 out of these cases, the sound — 
of raps, foot-steps, doors being opened, etc. — was heard first, and we 
think it probable that it may sometimes have been a real sound, which 
led to the seeing of the apparition through expectancy.^ In a few 
cases the probability that the sounds were real is considerably increased 
by the fact that they were heard by more than one person, only one 
seeing the apparition afterwards. 

1 This point is further discussed, with illustrations in Chapter X . 

VI.] Form and Development of Hallucinations. 


Chapter VI. 


One of the facts brought out most strongly by our Tables is the 
tendency of hallucinations to assume familiar forms. The ghastly or 
horrible apparitions dear to writers of romance seem to be very rare 
among healthy grown-up people^ — at least, among those who are 
educated. The great majority of hallucinations are like the sights we 
are accustomed to see, or the sounds we are accustomed to hear, and 
even when they are not so, they often suggest, as we shall see, a sort 
of incompleteness in a hallucination of a natural object, rather than a 
hallucination representing something unnatural. In the exceptional 
cases where the hallucination does represent a non-natural being, we 
hnd it assuming the conventional form. An angel, for instance, takes 
the form with which art has familiarised us, and we should be sur- 
prised to find one appearing to a grown-up person arrayed in " blue 
boots" — like those seen by Mrs. D. when a child (see Appendix D.) 

Most visual hallucinations represent human beings,^ and most of 
these resemble human beings of the present day in all respects. 
According to our statistics, more than two-fifths of the realistic human 
apparitions represent living persons known to the percipient, and, 
of these, 45 per cent, represent inmates of the same house as the per- 
cipient, or persons frequently, or (in a few cases) very recently, seen 
by him, while in another 20 per cent, they represent near relatives of 
his — that is, parents, grandpai'ents, children, husbands, wives, brothers 
or sisters. We have included among hallucinations representing 
familiar figures the comparatively small class of cases (seven in our 
collection) in which the percipient sees his own apparition. For an 
instance of this see No. 555. 5 (p. 74). 

In the great majority of realistic cases, the apparition represents a 
single figure only, though there are exceptions. A very peculiar case 
of the contrary is No. 464. 15 (Miss Dodson's case in Chapter XVII). 

As far as the reports as to dress enable us to judge, phantoms, 
botli recognised and unrecognised, generally appear in ordinary modern 
dress, and do not affect old-fashioned costumes any more than real 
people do. When they move, which, as we have said (p. 110), happens 

1 Of the 33 cases classed by us as " grotesque, horrible, or monstrous," more than 
half were experienced by children, and 3 others by persons not in their normal state 
"f health. Among the 23 cases excluded from the Tables because they occurred 
during illness of the percipient, 4 are " grotesque." 

2 In the present collection, 830 out of 1,112 do so. Mr. Gurney found that in 
his collection, out of 302 subjective visual hallucinations, only 20 represented objects 
other than human beings. (See Phantasms of the Living, Vol. 1, p. 503). 


114 Report on. the Census of Hallucinations. [chap. 

more often than not, the movement is almost always such as we are 
accustomed to see. The phantom stands on the ground and appears to 
walk along the ground, and seems to leave the tield of vision as a 
human being would, by walking out of an open door or passing behind 
some obstacle. A position impossible for real persons, — such as being 
up in the air, — when the tigure is otherwise realistic, is very rare. We 
have only one instance of it. The proverbial gliding movement, sup- 
posed to be characteristic of apparitions, is rarely reported. (For an 
instance, see No. 256. 17, p. 310.) Appearance or disappearance by 
an unrealistic means is also rare, though there are about a dozen 
cases in our collection in which the ghost seems to enter or leave a 
room through a wall, book-case, closed door, or window, or by passing 
up through tiie ceiling or down through the floor. 

Even when a phantom is stationary, it does not usually either 
suddenly appear out of empty space, or similarly vanish before 
the percipient's eyes, but is generally seen by the percipient on turning 
his eyes that way, and vanishes, he does not know how, or when he is 
looking away. There are, however, instances of sudden appearance 
and disappearance in free space. See, for instance. No. 118. 20 
(Phantasms of the Living, Vol. II., p. 462.) Again in No. 338. 20 (see 
p. 261), the percipient "simply ceased to see the tigure;" and the 
following is another case of this sudden disappearance, which happened 
in a clear space and in good light. 

(243. 14. j From Mrs. M. 

(The account was written in 1889.) 

" At , in Dorsetshire, at one o'clock in the day, about 1866, on going 

into my bedroom just before luncli, I found an old gentleman sitting on 
the sofa, dressed in a sort of shooting costume of grey tweed with gaiters ; 
his hands were clasped in his lap and his head bent down : the figure 
appeared perfectly natural, and I looked at it for sevei-al seconds in surprise, 
thinking it was someone who had mistaken the room, when it suddenly 
disappeared, which alarmed me so that I ran out of the room, and related 
the experience. 

" I was paying a visit to my uncle, who had lived in the house for several 
years. I was in perfect health and spirits. 

' ' The impression was that of a complete stranger. 

' ' There were no other persons present at the time, but my aunt after- 
wards told me she had had a similar experience in the same room ; and that 
the maids would not enter it alone because the bell rang occasionally when 
it was unoccupied." 1 

1 As we have not been able to obtain first-hand evidence from the other percipient 
mentioned, we have not felt justified in treating this case as anything more than a 
subjective hallucination. 

VI.] Form and Development of Hallucinations. 


An instance of a nearly, but not quite, sudden disappearance of 
tliis kind occurs in the case quoted on p. 74 (No. 661. 5) and another 
will be found in the course of Mrs. D.'s account of her experiences 
(A23pendix D). 

In the following case, in which, if the account is accurate, the cause 
is prima facie telepathic, the process is slightly different. 

(692. 2.) From Mr. G. Q. 

April, 1892. 

"Early in November, 1879, as I was walking up Collins-street, Melbourne, 
Australia, about four o'clock in the afternoon, I was amazed to see, amongst 
a number of people on the other side of the street, a very intimate friend, 
whom I believed to be in New Zealand at the time. 

" I ran across the street to speak to him ; and, as I neared the kerb-stone, 
it seemed that a hand was passed momentarily before my eyes, its direction 
being downwards. In that instant my chum was gone ; and, though I 
looked everywhere round me, and could distinguish others I had seen before 
the curious darkness, I never saw him again. About three weeks after, I 
learned that he died that very day and hour, (Nov. 3rd or 5th, about four 
o'clock: I cannot remember the exact date). I was, of course, broad awake. 
I was also in the best of liealth and spirits ; not thinking of my friend, and 
never dreaming of meeting him in Melbourne." 

Changes of Form. 

Though realistic apparitions are usually realistic from first to last, 
some pass through stages in the course of development or of dis- 
appearance, which, on the assumption that both the initial and final 
stages are constructed by the mind of the percipient, stand in need 
of some explanation. 

In some cases it may be reasonably supposed that one stage of the 
hallucination creates an expectation of the next, which tends to woi'k 
itself out. This probably often happens, for instance, in cases where 
more than one sense is affected and where a sense of presence precedes 
the seeing of a ghost. The effect of expectation will be more fully 
discussed in Chapter X. 

In other cases, the whole process is like what we are familiar with 
in dreams, one idea or image leading on to another by transitions out- 
.side the conscious thought of the percipient. The following are in- 
stances of this : — 

(39. 3.) From Miss E. A. 

October 2nd, 1891. 
"I saw a figure standing by my bed. I had been awake some time. It 
was a summer morning, about 5 o'clock, and I saw tlie figure quite distinctly. 
It was tall and dressed in something grey, falling in long folds. The face was 
kind and I was not frightened at first, but it suddenly changed and the wliole 

I 2 


Report on the Census of Hallucinations. 


figure and face, as it were, fell to jjieces in the most gliastly manner and 
vanished. I was about 22. It must be nine years since it [happened]." 

(150. 4.) From Mrs. L. H. 

November 2, 1891. 

" I think the vision that I ana about to describe occurred in March, 1891. 
I was asleep, when I woke with a start, it then being early morning. On 
looking round the room, I distinctly saw the head of a skeleton floating in 
the air, about a foot from the ceiling. I gazed at it intently (being now quite 
awake), when I saw it gradually change to my mother's head and face and 
float away, seemingly through the ceiling. My age [was] 35." 

The process of develojsment is less easy to explain in some other 
cases — those, for instance (four in our collection) in which an indefi- 
nite cloud-like form is first seen, and then a clearly defined figure, 
either developing out of it or appearing in the midst of it. It may 
perhaps be compared to the process of groping after an idea in thinking 
out a difficult subject ; — the idea comes to us vaguely at first, and only 
gradually acquires definiteness. An instance of this is No. 458. 9. 
(see p. 322) and the following is another. 

(495. 6.) From Mrs. Gordon Jones. 

Cheam Lodge, Anerley, Surrey, November ith, 1891. 

" In the autumn of 1881 a party of young people and myself determined 
on All Hallow's Eve to play at the childish game of sitting separately in dark 
rooms, with supper laid for two, with the intention of awaiting the appearance 
of a future husband or wife. Thinking the whole thing a joke, and not in 
the least expecting to see anything — alone — I distinctly saw— first a filmy 
cloud which rose up at the other end of the room — then the head and 
shoulders of a man, middle-aged, stout, with iron-grey hair and blue eyes — 
not in the least the picture which a young girl would imagine she saw on 
such an occasion. 

" [I was] in perfect healtli and spirits. Age 17." 

It may be added that the gentleman whom the percipient subsequently 
married had no resemblance to this apparition, not even in regard to the 
colour of his eyes. Two or three years before, Mrs. Jones had had another 
experience, in which the apparition went through a similar process of 
gradual development, and a third experience of hers is given on p. 127. ; 

A few more or less similar cases are given in Phantasms of the 
Living {e.g., Vol. II., p. 176 and p. 182), and with some crystal-seers 
the pictures seen go through similar stages of development. Mr. 
Myers, in fact, mentions the process as one generally characteristic of 
crystal visions. {Proceedings, S.P.R., Vol. VIII., p. 478.) Miss A. says 
{Op. Vol. VIII., p. 500) : " After a minute or two, I seem to see a 
very bright light in [the crystal], which disappears after a few seconds, 
and then the surface appears cloudy and thick. This mist clears 

VI.] Form and Development of Hallncinaiions. Wi 

away, and I see sometimes views, sometimes faces, sometimes letters. 
. . They only last for a few seconds or sometimes minutes, and 
between each new picture I see the same light and then mist." 

Another case somewhat similar to those given above, but where the 
development is even more gi-adual, is No. 328. 5 (see p. 235). 

In other cases, a vague shadowy form is first seen, which gradually 
acquires definiteness. Some instances are given in Phcmtasms of the 
Living {e.g., Vol. T., p. 526 and p. 527). The following is the only case 
exactly of this kind in the Census : — 

(607. 1.) From Mr. T. A. 

Man ^th, 1892. 

" I saw a darkish vapour leave my father's head when he died, about 12 
years ago, and it formed into a figure, full-sized, and for seven consecutive 
nights [I] saw it in my own room and saw it go each night into the next 
room, in which he died. It became more distinct each night and brighter 
each night, till it was quite brilliant, even dazzling, by the seventh night. It 
lasted, say, 1^ minutes. It was dark when the phantom used to Appear. I 
was quite awake, going to bed ; [age] 32." 

In some cases, what is first seen is a glow of light — the apparition 
subsequently appearing in it. See, for example. No. 290. 3. (p. 293), 
and No. 33. 25. (printed in Proceedings, S.P.R., Vol. V., p. 462). 

It is possible that in some cases where the initial impression is 
vague, it may really be of the nature of an illusion, which works itself 
out into a definite sensory hallucination owing to the habitual impulse 
to interpret our sensory impressions definitely : but we have not any 
clear evidence of this. 

Gradual disappearance is, perhaps, rather more common than 
•gradual appearance, and sometimes similar stages are passed through, 
as will haA'e been noticed in examples already quoted. More often the 
percipient simply tells us that the phantom "gradually disappears," 
by which we must probably understand a gradual fading and becoming 
indistinct, as the real objects, temporarily obscured for the mind by 
the phantom, reassert themselves. This is sometimes described by 
saying that the apparition becomes transparent. Possibly No. 69. 14, 
{see p. 105), is an instance of this; and the following (a case originally 
belonging to Mr. Gurney's Census) is a very interesting one. 

From Dr. H. C. 

J)ine 2Wi, 1889. 

" In the year 1863, (I think I could find out the very day and year, with 
a little trouble. It was a Tuesday, five days before the death of a lady 
whom I used to connect in my mind with my vision. But I did not do this 
when I related my story in the morning after, nor till after the death 
of the lady ; and I now reject this connection as a fanciful addendum,) 

118 Report on the Census of Hallucinations. [chap. 

being about 26 years old, I was sleeping alone, without having indulged in 
any heavy supper. I woke up suddenly and with niy wits all about me, but 
with a clear feeling that somebody was in the room. There was enough 
light to make things perceptibly visible, and that was all. There was no 
moonlight streaming in to cause lights and shadows. As I started up and 
raised myself on my elbow, I saw a tall lady in a rich black dress (silk I 
think, with black beads and a train behind, — I knew once, but I have 
forgotten,) looking steadily at me with a most gentle, meditating gaze. 
About 40, I should say. I now say that I [did] not at all recognise the face. 
There was a far-away look in her eyes, and I felt as if she had been reading 
me through. She rested the elbow of one hand in the palm of the other, 
and in the first hand there was a little duodecimo volume with rubric and, I 
think, 'black letter.' I was entirely calm, eagerly interested, but rather 
scientihcally then imaginatively. I pinched myself to find out if I was really 
awake. I took my watch and held it to my ear to hear whether it was tick- 
ing. I tried my pulse, which was normal. I then said aloud (in order to test 
my sobriety and calmness), ' This is an optical delusion. I shall now put my 
hand through this appearance.' I did so, and my hand went through as it 
would through water, (only without the slightest sensation,) the clothes 
kept their folds and position (as water keeps its level) making no break. 
My hand with the white night-shirt sleeve was wholly hid, and when I with- 
drew it, there was no hole left behind, any more than when one withdraws one's 
hand from water. After some 40 or 50 seconds I saw a straight white line 
crossing the figure. I could not make out what it was, till 1 perceived the 
apparition was slowly vanishing away in its place, and the white line was the 
top of my towel on the towel-horse behind. Bit by bit the white towel 
and other dimmer objects in the room came into sight, behind what was 
becoming a faint mist. In about 20 seconds it had completely vanished." 

This interpretation of gradual disappearance — that it is due to 
real objects of vision reasserting themselves — seems the most natural 
one. We can hardly suppose that it is due to the idea going through 
an indefinite stage, which seems a possible explanation of gradual 
appearance. On the other hand, the gradual appearance of a hallu- 
cination would he likely to create an expectation of its gradual 
disappearance, and so bring it about by suggestion. This may 
account for the hallucinations which disappear through the same 
stages as those they pass through in appearing, as in No. 290. 3 (see 
p. 293). A change into a cloud-like form in the course of disappearance 
does not, so far as we know, occur when the same modification has not 
occurred in the course of development. 

Many hallucinations never attain a completely realistic form; — 
their development is, as it were, arrested, and they remain in some 
sense incomplete to the end. These are included in the class of "in- 
completely developed apparitions " in our Tables, but they are of 
various kinds. There are (a) the transparent or shadowy figures, 
which seem to I'epresent a perfectly definite idea, but, as sensory 

vl] Form and Development of Hallucinations. 119 

hallucinations, fail to assert themselves completely among the real 
objects of vision. There are 33 of these cases. In only 12 of them is 
the figure definitely described as " transparent," in whole or in part ; 
" shadowy," however, is probably sometimes used in this sense (in the 
case, for instance, of " a shadowy black dog ") ; and possibly " misty " 
may sometimes mean serai-transparent, as well as colourless. It seems 
possible that in some of the cases in which a transparent apparition 
was motionless, it may have been an illusion, rather than a hallucination. 
But other cases of motionless transparent apparitions seem to be 
clearly genuine hallucinations, for instance, J^o. 643. 22 (see p. 103) 
and No. 402. 8 (see p. 284) In five out of the twelve cases also, 
the transparent figure was seen to move in such a way as to make it 
almost certain that it could not have been an illusion. The following 
is an instance of this kind : — 

(546. 19.) From Mr. G. B. L.i 

(The account was written in 1891.) 

" [I saw] a figure of a man which was perfectly transparent, and which 
came into the room and sat down on a chair by my side. It was about ten 
years ago. I was in bed and had been suffering from severe illness, which 
had affected my head. My wife [was present]. She saw nothing, though I 
mentioned it to her." 

For another case of a moving transparent figure see No. 
49. 5, p. 143.2 

Secondly, there are — among incompletely-developed apparitions — 
(6) cases where the incompleteness of the figure seen seems to be 
due to the vagueness of the idea underlying it. This is the natural 
explanation of very rudimentary and vaguely defined figures, such as 
No. 554. 13 (see p. 268) and Nos. 49. 2 and 3 (see p. 312). But it is 
probably also applicable to cases where the figure is distinct, but 
completely veiled or shrouded, so that no details of featui'es or hands 
are perceived. The following are instances : — ■ 

(233. 7.) From Miss A. F. K. 

May, 1889. 

" [About 14 years ago] I was awakened in the middle of the night with 
very acute pain in the middle of my back ; I sat up in bed and saw a 

1 This case is not included in our Tables, and, therefore, is not one of the twelve 
cases just mentioned, because it occurred during an illness of the percipient's, to 
which it may have been due. 

" In another case, a semi-transparent figure, dressed in a black hat, surtout and 
blue waistcoat, was seen in the middle of the day to emerge from a wall, cross part 
of a garden, and disappear into the opposite wall, and a short time after come out 
and retrace its steps, disappearing finally into the first wall. But the percipient 
is not included in the Tables, because he was only twenty at the time he answered 
the Census question. 

120 Report on the Census of Hallucinations. [chap 

draped and shrouded figure standing near me ; the face I could not see, it 
was shrouded ; the arms were crossed and the head bent — it did not move 
nor speak, but gradually faded. It was a light night and tliere was no 
drapery about the bed, nor about the room, to account for it. 

' ' I was in good health and in no sort of anxiety — about 25 years old at 
the time. 

" As I could not see the face, I could not recognise the person ; but was 
so fully awake that I thought it might be some one with a message to nie, 
and sat quietly waiting for it to speak ; this it did not do. 

" I was alone. 

" I have not seen anything of the sort at any other time." 

(190. 15.) From Miss H. T. 

(The account was written in 1889.) 

"I have seen a figure three times. I cannot remember the exact 
dates ; the figure appeared to me between the years 1867 and '76. The form 
appeared each time directly I got into bed. I have always been in good 
health. [It] always ajjpeared in the same way ; that is, on getting into bed 
and putting the light out, there would be a sort of movement in the air, 
which gradually took the form of mist and then developed into a dark veiled 
figure, which came nearer to me and when bending over and about to touch 
me I threw niy hands into it, and it vanished. Until it was almost touching 
me, my terror was so great that I could neither call my sister, who was asleep 
beside me, nor move hand or foot. I am pretty nearly certain tliat I was 17 
when I first saw the figure ; the last time I do not remember, excepting 
that I was over 18 and most probably over 20. I don't remember about the 
light, excepting that there was enough for me to see everything plainly." 

This last case is an interesting example of gradual development 
from the mere impression of a movement in the air up to the incom- 
plete form which the hallucination finally reaches. 

A third group of incomjjletely developed apparitions — that, namely, 
in which the face or head of the figure is indistinct — seems to belonar 
to the class where the idea represented is pi'obably vague. The 
following is an instance : — 

(68. 25.) From Mrs. A. W. Verrall. 

March 12th, 1887. 

"One evening about the middle or end of September, 1879, as I was 
washing my hands in a little room at the end of the passage leading to the 
front door, at 24, Vernon Terrace, Brighton, I heard footsteps, and looking 
up saw a little old lady coming towards me. She was dressed in a dark dress 
gathered round the waist in full folds, a grey knitted shawl over her shoulders 
fastened with a brooch in front, and a cajj. I did not see her face, although 
she was walking towards me. I knew at once tliat it was a hallucination, 
but was neither startled nor alarmed. The figure disappeared before 
reaching the room where I was. During the next two or three weeks, I saw 
' my old lady, ' as I called her, more than once — always facing me, and in the 

A^i.] Form and Development of Hallucinations. 


act of approaching. I am not sure how many times I saw her at Brighton, 
but I can distinctly remember three occasions beside the first, and have an 
impression that there were others. I spoke of her to my mother and sister, 
and though I usually saw her when I was alone, I remember once seeing her 
when my sister and I were sitting in the dining-room. Gradually I came to 
see further details — the brooch fastening the shawl was like a circular brooch 
with a hole in the centre worn by my great-grandmother, Mrs. Watkins, who 
had died some ten years before. In the end I called the figure my great- 
grandmother, but I never saw the face. 

" I came back to Cambridge on October 13, and entirely forgot my 
hallucination, till one evening, as I was going upstairs to my room, I heard 
footsteps coming along the passage at the top of the house, and looking to the 
left (instead of turning to the right to my room) to see who it was, saw my 
old lady coming towards me. There was no one else in the passage ; the gas 
was lighted, and I saw the figure plainly. This was the last time I saw it. 
On the first and last occasions of my seeing the figure, I had heard the sound 
of footsteps, on the intermediate occasions the impression was only visual. 
The figure always took its place in the surroundings (i.e., hid the things 
behind it), and was always in movement —coming towards me ; the only odd 
thing about it was that I never saw the face — there seemed a blank within 
the cap. I ought to say that although at the time I saw the figure I had no 
reason to suppose that I was not well, I had had a short illness in Switzer- 
land some two weeks earlier, due, it was thought, to over fatigue, after some 
weeks of considerable strain in other respects. 

" M. DE G. Vekeall." 

Of the three different groups which we thus place in class (6) of 
incompletely developed appai'itions, there are in our collection 21 of 
the first, 1 9 of the second, and 6 of the third. 

The remaining hallucinations included among the incompletely 
developed apparitions are incompletely developed in a different sense. 
The great majority of them (47 cases) rejjresent parts only of human 
bodies, and it is mei'ely on account of their fragmentary character that 
we have thus classified them ; since the percept, as far as it goes, is 
distinct and definite, and there is no reason to think that the mental 
impression which gave rise to it is in any way vague, though it cer- 
tainly seems in some cases to be freakish and dream-like. 

Instances in which the head or face is represented are No. 495. 6 
(see p. 116), No. 69. 14 (see p. 105), and No. 191. 3 (seep. 240). 
The following is another which also illustrates a process of piecemeal 
development unique in our collection. 

(80. 7.) From Miss G. O. 

(The account was written in 1889.) 

"I saw in 1871 [when aged about 12] the face of an aged woman which 
was grey and thin. The features formed themselves one by one — first one 
eye and then the other and so on. It disappeared in the way it came, 

122 Report on the Census of Hallucinations. [chap. 

leaving a blue mist. The face was decidedly ugly and unhappy looking. I 
had just got into bed and extinguished my candle. ... I saw in 1874 
a very pretty child's face ; it appeared in exactly the same way as the 
otlier. On each occasion the apparition appeared on my left side." 

In 15 cases a hand, or hand and arm only, are represented (see 
No. 579. 25, p. 241), and in three cases, legs. These fragments are 
seldom recognised as the limbs of any particular person, though 
it happens that the instance of a hand quoted, as well as one 
instance of legs, are exceptional in this respect. The following is 
another case : — 

(460. 12.) From Dr. C. G. H. 

August 22nd, 1891, 

" Place, Osmastori Park, Derbyshire. Autumn of 1870 (somewhere 
about then), about 7 p.m. I was crossing the park with my brother, 2 years 
younger than myself, and saw distinctly as it were two black legs walking 
towards us ; so much so that I stopped and called my brother's attention to 
them ; he failed to see anything. I pointed where they were and then they 
vanished. We walked to the spot, as it appeared to me, about 10 yards off 
and could see nothing, neither did we hear anything. I saw the legs most 
distinctly and went next morning to see the spot, so vivid was my recollection. 
As regards daylight, it was clear and only just getting dusk. [I was] simply 
going to the post, in good health, no grief or anxiety ; 17 years of age. 

" My brother could not see anything, though I pointed to the legs and 
saw them at the time I pointed. 

" I liad time to see them and stop walking, point to them, and say to my 
brother, ' Look ! there they are, two legs. Can't you see them ? ' and they 
were then gone." 

Dr. H. adds later : — 

"The legs ended abrujjtly, absolutely abruptly. I could make out no 
body or sen)blance of one. The vision was most vivid and I have never 
experienced anything similar. The evening was darkish, but perfectly clear 
and bright." 

We have thought it convenient to class with incompletely developed 
apparitions, instead of making a separate heading for them, five cases 
of hallucinations which do not appear solid, but are like a picture, or 
seem to be projected on a flat surface. The following is a case of this 
kind : — 

(707. 1.) From Mrs. B. 

December Uth, 1891. 

" I distinctly saw my mother's face upon the wall ; it smiled and passed 
along the wall and faded away. The time was a little before eight o'clock 
p.m., on August 4th, 1837. 

"I was saying my prayers before going to bed. I was in good health 
and had no worry. I was nine years old. 

VI.] Form and Development of Hallucinations. 123 

" I afterwards heard that my mother died at that time in London. I 
was at Ramsgate." 

Mrs. B. states that this is the only hallucinatory experience she has ever 

Miss Porter writes : — 

" I called upon Mrs. B. on December 18th, [1891]. As the exj^erience 
took place so long ago and no corroboration is now possible, I did ]iot ask 
for an account in narrative form. 

"Mrs. B. described the apparition as exactly like a coloured picture of 
her mother, head and shoulders, which i^assed along the wall and faded. 
She did not mention what she had seen to anyone, and the following even- 
ing an aunt of liers arrived from London to tell her that her mother was 
dead. The aunt had started that morning by the steamer, the death having 
taken place the previous evening. On her return home the child told her 
father what she had seen. He asked her what time it was, and on her 
replying that it was nearly 8 p.m., he said that her mother died at a quarter 
to eight, and that the last thing she had done was to speak of her one little 
daughter, and beg him to take care of her. 

"Mrs. B. at the time was in no sort of anxiety about her mother. 
There was a baby expected (which the child did not know) and the mother 
had been unwell, but the week previously an aunt had been at Ramsgate 
and had told the child that her mother would now soon be well and would 
be coming to stay for a time at Ramsgate." 

The cloud-like forms which hallucinations sometimes pass through 
in development suggest that the experiences which we have classed as 
" apparitions of indefinite objects " may really be undeveloped 
hallucinations. We have only 17 instances of them. They are vague 
shapeless forms, not suggesting anything in particular, sometimes 
described as like a shadow, or puff of smoke, or cloud, or a dark mass. 
They seem generally to be visual percepts of the simplest possible kind, 
and show the power of the mind in constructing hallucinations at its 
lowest point. Instances are No. 37. 13 (see p. 313), No. 191. 17 (see p. 
134) and the following : — 

(464. 11.) From Miss F. M. D. 

September llth, 1891. 

" One evening at [my home], in the hall, I saw on the staircase landing 
what looked like a column of smoke about two feet high, nearly white, which 
passed into a room through an open door and then turned suddenly to 
the left out of sight. I ran up stairs after it and went into the room, but 
could discover nothing. This was about five or six years ago, but I cannot 
remember the date. 

"[I was] in perfect health ; age about 17." 

Hallucinations of lights, which are comparatively rare — being 
only 17 in number — may also be sometimes, as Mr. Gurney suggests 
{Phantasms of the Living, Vol. II., p. 73), incipient or rudimentary 


Report on the Census of Hallucinations. [chap. 

hallucinations which fail to reach a fully-developed form. As we have 
seen, hallucinations of realistic human figures are occasionally evolved 
out of vague luminous forms, and some of the cases of hallucinatory 
lights suggest that the hallucination has been arrested at this preli- 
minary stage, and has failed to reach a more definite form ; e.g.^ No. 
408. 11 (see Proceedings S.P.R., Vol. VI., p. 351). But there are 
other cases where the hallucinatory form is very definite and does not 
itself suggest that greater definiteness might, under different circum- 
stances, have been attained. The only reason for regarding such 
hallucinations as undeveloped is that in some instances we seem to be 
able to trace them to suggestion, ordinary or telepathic, and that the 
suggestion in question would naturally be expected, if it produced a 
hallucination at all, to produce a human figure. The following is a 
case in point. 

(191. 2.) From Miss Williams. 

" 11, Cleveland-terrace, Coatham, Redcar, Septeniber 23yd, 1889. 

"I was living at home with my parents at Eston-in-Cleveland. There 
was a working man called Long living in the village, not far from our house, 
"ivhose wife was taken ill. Dr. Fulton, who at tliat time was staying with 
us, came in one night between 9 and 10 o'clock and said Mrs. Long was 
dying. After that we sat talking over the fire a good while, and then my 
sister Isabella and I went off to bed. We slept in a Vjack bedroom, and after 
we got to this bedroom I said, ' Oh, I've forgotten something in the large 
bedroom !' To this latter I proceeded by myself, and, as I approached the 
door, something seemed to say to me, ' You'll see something of Mrs. Long, 
living or dead ! ' But I thought no more of this, and entered the bedroom, 
which I had to cross to the opposite end for what I wanted. When I had 
got the things in my hand, I noticed a lovely light hanging over my head. 
It was a round light — perfectly round. I had taken no light with me, but 
went for the things I wanted in the dark. I looked to see if there was any 
light coming in from the windows, but there was none : in that direction 
there was total darkness. I grasped one hand with the other and stood 
looking at the strange light to be sure that I was not deceived and was not 
imagining it. I walked across the voom to the door, and all the way the 
light was hanging between my head and the ceiling. It was akin to the 
electric light : something of a cloud, though every part of it was beaming 
and running over with light. It left me at the bedroom door. On first 
seeing it a strange impression seized me, and after it left me I was so 
impressed that I could not speak of it to anyone for a day or two. I 
wondered at the time whether it had anything to do with Mrs. Long, and on 
inquiry I found that she died just about the time when I saw the light ■ If 
there was any difference, I judged it would be a little before, but there 
would nnt be much in it. This would be about 11 p.m , and about four 
years ago. It left an impression on my mind which I have never forgotten, 
and never shall forget. Mrs. Long was not ill many days — about two or 
three ; she died rather suddenly. I was rather interested in her. I did not 
see her during her illness, but had often seen her and talked to her before. 

Yi.] Form and Development of Hallucinations. 


I was perfectly -svell at the time, and was in no trouble or anxiety. My age 
at the time was 23. I have had no experience of the kind before or since. 
I saw no figure, only a lovely light. Before telling my sister I made her 
promise she would not ridicule me nor call me superstitious. 
" To the best of my recollection this is a correct statement. 

"Mahy Helena Williams." 

*' P.S. — The light which I saw was a palish blue. It emitted no rays, so 
that all the rest of the room was in darkness. Tt was wider in circumference 
than my head, so that as I walked I could see it above me without raising- 
my head. As I left the room it remained, and when I looked again was 
g(me. It was in a corner, where the darkness of the room was deepest and 
the least chance of illumination from the windows on the right and left, that 
I first saw it above my head. I had no fear, but a kind of sacred awe. 
The light was unlike any other tliat I ever saw, and I should say brighter 
than any other, or, at least, purer. Looking at it did not affect the eyes. 
It was midway between my head and the ceiling." 

The sister who was with Miss Williams at the time corroborates her 
account as follows : — 

" August 8tli, 1891. 
" I recollect my sister Lily seeing the bright light. When she came back 
to the room where I was she was quite pale, and sat down on the floor. She 
was so awe-struck that she did not tell us what she had seen till the next 
day. I remember that a woman who lived near us died about the time my 
sister saw the light, and that we connected the two cii'cumstances together. 

"Isabella Fulton." 

Here, the hallucination, if not due to a telepathic impulse, would 
seem to have been due to the occupation of the percipient's mind 
with the idea of the imminent death. Why, then, should it take the 
form of a light, unless this was, as it were, a rudimentary condition of 
a hallucination which failed to reach the human form 1 

Among the lights in our collection, 9 are described as round or 
oval lights, or balls of light or fire ; of these 7 are connected by the 
percipients with some individual who is stated to have died at or 
about the time of the experience. Of the remaining 8 cases of lights, 
two are described as columns of light, or luminous clouds about the 
height of a human being, 3 resembled bright points of light, as stars 
or candle flames, and 3 appeared like a general glow of light. 

Symholic Forms. 

■ The discussion of lights leads us naturally to another cause of the 
form of hallucination which deserves to be noticed, namely, symbol- 
ism : — as this would seem to be certainly in some cases an explanation of 
lights. The idea of light as a symbol of the soul or spirit — and conse- 
quently as associated with death — is a very wide-spread one. The 
" corpse-candles " of the Celts are a familiar instance, and the same 


Re'port on the Census of Hallucinations. [chap. 

idea prevails among the Tartars. No doubt, when a superstition of 
this kind his become established, it is likely that any unexplained 
phenomenon fitting in with it will tend to be regarded as supernatural, 
and this probably accounts for many of the Welsh stories of mysterious 
lights foi'eboding or coinciding with deaths. We have received several 
accounts of such lights in the course of the present Census, but most of 
them were seen out of doors at night and some way off, so that there 
seemed to be no adequate reason for regarding them as hallucinatory 
at all. But though real lights are likely to be taken for " corpse- 
candles " in regions whei'e such a superstition exists, it may be taken as 
certain that the superstition will sometimes determine the form of a hal- 
lucination which in other regions would have taken an entirely different 
form, and thus the hallucination, whether veridical or purely subjec- 
tive, may justly be described as symbolic. Such symbolic representa- 
tions need not, of course, be confined to uneducated percipients, since 
the symbolism may exist in the minds of persons who attach no 
superstitious value to it. The following is a case in point. 

(305. 4.) From Mr. P. 

February, 1891. 

" Our third child, a boy, lived only l(i days. From the first it was evident 
that his life would be a short one ; but, perhaps all the more on that account, 
every effort was made to prolong it. I had taken a small share of the watch- 
ing, and just before the hoy died was lying on a sofa in that state of wakeful 
weariness that comes of death-bed watching. Lying thus, I saw, a few feet 
above my head, a blue flame. It was about an inch and a quarter long, 
and surrounded by a slight haze or halo. It hovered above me for a few 
seconds, then took an irregular diagonal course towards the corner of the 
room farthest from me, finally seeming to pass through the ceiling. As it 
vanished a voice from nearly the opposite side of the room said, ' That's his 
soul.' No person other than myself was in [the room] at the time. A few 
minutes later the child died. 

' ' Having never at that time heard or read of a similar appearance, I 
know of nothing that could have predisposed me to, or in any way led up to, 
tliis hallucination. The date was .lanuary 17th, 1867." 

Special symbols, signs, or warnings are, as everyone knows, 
connected with death in some families, and if hallucinations occur to 
members of these families, they are not unlikely to take a form with 
the idea of which family tradition has rendered the percipient 
familiar. W^e have in the Census two or three accounts of families, 
several members of which have experienced hallucinations of white 
animals — for instance, dogs or rabbits — which are regarded as a family 
symbol of death. With these may be compared No. 733. 5 (see 
p. 72), — a case received fi-om Brazil, where, as Professor Alexander 
informs us, a black butterfly is supposed to be a sign of death. 

VI.] Form and Development of Hallucinations. 127 

Apparitions of Animals. 

Most of the apparitions of animals in our collection have, however, no 
symbolic character, but, like the realistic apparitions of human beings, are 
hallucinatory reproductions of familiar objects. The 25 cases divide 
themselves into 13 cats (for instances see Nos. 535. 2 and 3, p. 305 ; 
and ISTo. 561. 24, see p. 156) 4 dogs, 1 rabbit, 1 mouse, 1 bird, 
1 butterfly, 1 horse with carriage, besides 3 recurring cases in which 
the percipient often saw cats, and 2 in which both cats and dogs 
appeared. In only 3 or 4 cases was the animal recognised. No. 319. 1 
(see p. 181) is an instance, and so is the following. 

(495. 6.) From Mrs. Gordon Jones. 

February 22nd, 1892. 

" I have the strongest aversion to cats — a tendency which I have in- 
herited from niy father, who could not endure a cat's presence. After my 
marriage, I would never have one in the house, until obliged to do so on 
account of mice. The one that I then allowed to come was an ordinary grey 
and black striped one — but I very seldom looked at it, and it was never 
allowed to come upstairs. 

" One day I was told that the cat was mad and asked if it might be 
■drowned. T did not look at the animal myself, but said, yes. I next heard 
that it had been drowned by the groom in a copper. As the cat was not a 
pet and had never been my comjjanion, its death made no impression on me. 
It was drowned in the morning. The same evening I was sittmg alone in 
the dining-room. I am sure tliat I was not thinking uf the cat or of possible 
apparitions. I was reading ; presently I felt impelled to look up, the 
door seemed to open, and there stood the animal that had been drowned in 
the morning ; the same cat, but apparently much thinner and dripping with 
water — only the expression of the face was changed— the eyes were quite 
human and haunted me afterwards, they looked so sad and pathetic. I felt 
so sure of what I saw that at the moment I never doubted that it was the 
living cat who had escaped from drowning. I rang the bell and when the 
servant came I said ' There's the cat, take it out ; ' it seemed to me that she 
could not but see it too — it was clear and distinct to my eyes as the table or 
chairs. But the servant looked frightened and said ' Oh, ma'am, I saw the 
cat after William had drowned it — and then he buried it in the garden.' 
'But,' I said, 'there it is.' — Of course she saw nothing, and then the cat 
began to fade, and I saw nothing more of it." 

In an accompanying letter, Mrs. Gordon Jones says that this incident 
occurred "two or three years ago." 

Inanimate Forms. 

Of the remaining classes of hallucinations in our Tables, visions 
have been sufficiently discussed in Chapter IV., and grotesque appari- 
tions will be best considered in Chapter VIII. in connection with 
childish hallucinations. But it may be riientioned that the " appari- 


Report on the Census of Hallucinations. [chap. 

tions of inanimate objects " include 3 cases of apparent movements of 
real objects (which may, perhaps, have been mistakably regarded as hal- 
lucinatory) ; 2 cases of appearances while the percipient was in bed (one 
of wings and one of an ostrich feather) waving and growing in size, 
which might, perhaps, equally well be classed with grotesque cases ; 
and 9 cases of ordinary realistic inanimate objects, such as a bird-cage, 
a chair, flowers, a bonnet, a brass plate on a door, a railway train. 

Religions Phantasms. 

Several of the religious phantasms are more or less impressive 
appearances of angels ; which in some cases— e. 9., when they appear 
with the conventional wings — may be regarded as symbolic. But in 
other cases, the experiences are of so exceedingly intimate a nature 
that it is with difficulty our informants have brought themselves to 
speak of them at all, and in one instance, at least, and probably in 
others, information has been refused. In one case, at least, of those 
reported, the percipient has only described what occurred in the hope 
that, as the experience had been of very great help to herself in a 
period of doubt and trouble, the knowledge that such a thing has hap- 
pened might be of use to others ; and in more than one case these ex- 
periences have had a lasting effect on the convictions and actions of the 
percipients. Under these circumstances, we are reluctant to print 
them in a treatise such as this, though we are willing to communicate 
the most interesting of them privately, and without names, to serious 

We will here only mention further one fact about such experiences 
which is of interest to psychologists, namely, that the kind of vision 
which to Roman Catholics takes the form of the Virgin Mary will to 
Protestants take the form of Jesus Christ. We judge this, not only 
from the pi-esent collection, but from cases received through other 
channels. As it happens, there are not in our Census any visions of the 
Virgin Mary, but our readers will remember instances of these in 
Phantasms of the Living, and in more than one paper in the 
Proceedings S.P.R. 

Deferred Recognition. 

In this chapter on foim and development, we must notice a kind of 
gradual development in hallucinations which is unlike any that we 
have discussed above. It is the very curious featui'e of deferred recog- 
nition. Here there is no development in form, nor, it would seem, in 
the underlying idea. The figure is seen quite clearly, but, though 
familiar, is not recognised at once — sometimes not till long after it has 
disappeared. There are two cases of this in our collection, No. 49. 5 
(see pp. 144-5), and No. 402. 8 (see p. 284.) The phenomenon resembles 


Form and Development of Hallucinations. 


that of automatic writing when the writer is unaware till afterwards 
of what his hand is writing. It has also some analogy with a pheno- 
menon observed by Mr. Myers^ in certain cases of post-hypnotic 
hallucinations, when the idea communicated to the hypnotised subject 
is moi'e or less correctly embodied in a post-hypnotic hallucination, 
but not recognised by the percipient. 

A sort of mistaken recognition which seems to occur in some coin- 
cidental cases may be due to a similar divergence between the uncon- 
scious and conscious working of the mind — see, for example, two 
cases in Phantasms of the Living (Vol. I., pp. 428 and 429) where 
an apparition seen at the time of the death of one person was 
thought at the time to represent another person, who, however, 
resembled the decedent. Tn the following odd case from our collection, 
which in some ways resembles these, there was, however, at the time, a 
sort of double recognition. 

(407. 3.) From Mrs. H. H. 

Octoher Uh, 1890. 

" [At] Taunton, Mass., U.S.A., September 9th, 1862, about 5 a.m. or 
perhaps a little later, I was awakened very suddenly and sat upright in 
bed, thinking that someone was present ; and saw by my bedside the figure 
of an old man, who was somewhat like one who lived in the same street. 
His head was bound with a handkerchief, and he stood gazing at me for 
what seemed to be a few seconds, then vanished. Though recognising him 
perfectly, I all the time thought that it was my husband. 

"I had been asleep all night, was in good health, but of course somewhat 
anxious, as my husband was in the war and in poor health, owing to 
what was called 'swamp fever.' My husband was at Fortress Monroe, 
Virginia, and died at 5 o'clock on that day. He had aged very much, 
was quite gray and a perfect skeleton. For four days before he died, his 
memory had gone altogether and his only words, hour after hour, were 
' Write home.' 

" My children were in that room and the next, but were not disturbed, 
until I spoke to the eldest and asked if she had heard anyone about. I 
received a telegram at 10.30 a.m." 

1 See his paper on "The Subliminal Consciousness," in Proceedings S.P.R. , No. 
XXIII., Vol. VIII., page 459 seqq. We quote one instance from Mr. Myers' 
account. It must be understood that P. has been told that he will see the scene as 
described, after he has been awakened. " I told P. (hypnotised) the story of Robin- 
«onCritsoe finding the footprint and fearing savages. . . . Awakened and set before 
the glass of water, P. at once exclaimed, ' Why, there's Buffalo Bill ! He's dressed 
in feathers and skins round him ; almost hke a savage. He's walking about in a waste 
place. . . . He is all alone. ... I can see something else coming from 
another part — it's a blackie. . . . Look at them ; how they are arguing ! 
Buffalo Bill and his black man ! ' P. had read Eobinson C'cusoe ; but Buffalo Bill was 
fresher in his memory." 


130 Report on the Census of Hallucinations. [chap. 

Mrs. H. informed us that she mentioned her experience at the time to 
her eldest daughter, who now remembers it, but only vaguely. No written 
record was made. . 

Auditory and Tactile Hallucinations. 

Some points with regard to auditory and tactile as distinct from 
visual hallucinations require notice. In comparing hallucinations 
from a statistical point of view, the most obvious and striking fact 
brought out by our Tables is the comparative rarity of the auditory 
and tactile classes. These constitute 28 per cent and 10 per cent, 
respectively of all the hallucinations reported, the remaining 62 
per cent, being visual.^ These proportions, however, need correction 
on two accounts. First, we have already seen (Chapter III., p. 66) 
that auditory and tactile cases tend to be forgotten considerably more 
than visual cases, so that the actual frequency of the auditory and 
tactile cases is greater in proportion to the visual than would appear 
from the totals reported. If we take only the totals reported as having 
occurred during the last year, we tind that 50 per cent, are visual 
hallucinations, 38 per cent, are auditory, and 12 per cent, are tactile. 
Secondly, it appears from the Supplement to Table II. that there are 
159 cases where auditory hallucinations have been experienced more 
than once, but where the exact number of times has not been reported, 
so that they are counted as one hallucination only ; whereas this has 
happened in only 119 cases of visual hallucinations. It has happened 
also in a comparatively large number of tactile cases, viz., 41. 

After taking into consideration these two points, it seems to us 
that our statistics do not justify any definite conclusion as to the 
relative frequency of the auditoi'y and the visual hallucinations of the 
sane, when we are considering the whole aggregate of phenomena 
classed under either head. We think it, however, legitimate to infer 
that impressive hallucinations of the visual class are considerably more 
frequent than those of the auditory,'- and that auditory hallucinations 
in general are considerably more frequent than tactile. 

Among hallucinations of insane persons, there seems to be no 
doubt that auditory cases are much more frequent than visual, the 
proportions being estimated by some authorities as 3 to 1, by others as 
5 to 1, (see Phantasms of the Living, Vol. II., p. 22). These figures 

1 These percentages are calculated from the totals given in Tables IV., VII. and 
VIII., which include under each sense all hallucinations affecting that sense, whether 
or not any other sense was affected at the same time. 

- This does not agree with the conclusions arrived at by Mr. Gurney, in whose 
Census the number of auditory hallucinations was more than double the number of 
the visual (see Phantasms of the Living, Vol. II., p. 22). 

VI.] Form and Development of Hallucinations. 131 

contrast strikingly with the proportions among sane persons, as reported 
in the present Census. 

As we have seen, auditory hallucinations are on the whole much 
less impressive than visual ones. It appears from Table VII. that 
nearly one-half of those reported consist in the percipient's hearing 
his name called (including under the term " name " any title by which 
he is in the habit of hearing himself called, such as — -Father, Mother, 
Madame, etc.) and about another sixth consist in the hearing of 
" voices " when no distinct words are heard — or at all events are 
not reported. Experiences so trivial as these usually are will no 
doubt be often forgotten altogether, and the probability is that a 
very large part of those that have lapsed from memory are of this 
trivial kind. 

To hear a complete phrase or sentence apparently spoken is no 
doubt, as a rule, a much more impressive experience. Rather more 
than a third of the hallucinations included in Table VII. are of this 
type. It should be observed, however, that in only half of these cases 
is the impression that of a voice alone. In the other half, the 
hallucination also affects the sense of sight or of touch, or both, the 
words seeming to be spoken by a visible apparition, or being accom- 
panied by an impression of touch. For an instance of the latter, see 
No. 41. 3 (p. 295). For a case of a sentence alone being heard, see 
No. 23. 11 (p. 256). The aflfection of another sense at the same time is 
found much less often among the other classes of auditory hallucinations 
— there being 89 such cases in the class of " woi'ds heard," and only 28 
in both the other classes put together. 

Tactile hallucinations are for the most part even more trivial than 
auditory ones, and there is, naturally, not much variety in them. 
They are sometimes quite vague tactile impressions, not associated with 
any definite idea of an external object {e.g., No. 338. 26., p. 258). 
Sometimes, however, the impression is more definite and less easy to 
forget : as in a few cases Avhere the feeling is that of a kiss. More 
often they are impressions of being touched by human hands, as in 
the following case : — 

(283. 8.) From Mrs. J. H. 

(The account was apparently written in the early part of 1890.) 

" On February 11th, while on a visit to my cousin's. Miss O., at 9.45 
p.m., while ascending the stairs to my bedroom I suddenly felt an indescrib- 
able feeling of foreboding evil, which was accompanied by a distinct feeling 
of a hand grasping my left arm momentarily with a slight pressure. Within 
a few minutes I rejoined the family below, to whom I immediately related 
my experience, telling them I feared I should hear of some bad news, at 
which they pooh-poohed. 

K 2 

132 Report on the Census of Hallucinations. [chap. 

" I was in ray usual health, and in neither grief nor anxiety. 

" I took no notes, but have often related the matter to my friends, as at 
1.30 the same night I was fetched home in consequence of my father's sudden 
death at my aunt's house. I had no knowledge until then of my father being 
ill, and, as a matter of fact, he did not feel unwell until a few hours before 
his death, which occurred at 9.45 p.m. of the above date,i the time being 
noted by my uncle, who was sitting with him and looked at his watch. So 
sudden and unexpected was his demise that my uncle at first thought it was 
a fit." 

Mrs. H. says that she has had no other hallucinatory experience besides 
the one given. She wrote to her cousins, but found that they had forgotten 
her having told them of it. 

In the great majority of tactile hallucinations, the idea produced 
is that something is touching the percipient. In six cases only does 
the percipient have the impression that he is actively touching the 
hallucinatory object, and this impression is — in all but one case — 
combined with the affection of another sense. In four of these cases 
the percipient sees an apparition and puts out his hand and touches it. 
The remaining case is No. 41. 3 (see p. 295), already referred to, where 
a voice is heard at the same time. So far we have been speaking of 
first-hand cases : l^ut, to illustrate tlie combination of seeing with active 
touching of an apparition, we propose to give a second-hand case, which 
happens to be the most interesting one of the kind in our collection. 
The account which we quote was written by the collector, the late 
Miss A. J. Clough, the day after she had heard it from the percipient, 
an old housekeeper, who, Miss Clough says, " has lived in the same 
family 3.3 years and has always told the same story." She was then 
74 years of age, and could not write easily. 

(73. 20.) 

July mil, 1889. 

" E. H. and her sister were in 1829, in the spring of the year (she does 

not i-emember the day), with a Mr. and Mrs. , in a house in Little 

Holland House grounds — in London. Her mother had been fully a year 
dead. On the afternoon of the day in question, some people had been 
spending the day, and she had been amusing some boys in the garden and 
very merry : she went to bed rather later than usual, about 11 o'clock, and 
she had intended to get up early as she wanted to do some fine washing. 
Her sister Caroline was sleejjing with her. It was very light and she got up 
thinking it was late. The moon was shining and she went to the window to 
look out. She thought perhaps she should hear the watchman calling the 
hour for, as she observed, they had watchmen in those days in London. 
The bed was directly opposite tlie window. She walked straight to the win- 

1 In a letter dated March 13th, 1890, Mrs. H. says : "My father died February 
nth, 1885." 

VI.] Form and Development of Hcdliccinations. 133 

dow, and then she turned round and in the bed she saw two faces, her sister's 
and some one else. She went to the bed and looked ; it was her dead mother 
dozing beside her sister. She touched the figure but it did not move, and was 
not cold or hot. There it lay, there was the cap her mother used to wear 
with a border around it. She walked round the bed and kept her eye on 
the dozing figure all the time. She felt afraid it would follow her, and she 

was dreadfully frightened. Mr. and Mrs. were sleeping in a room next 

to hers. She went to their door and knocked. Mrs. opened it. She 

went into the room and told her story. Mr. • got up and they went into 

the room and found no one but her sister, still sleeping soundly. She was 
only 14 at the time. 

"I heard all this story from the old woman yesterday afternoon, July 15, 
1889. She was very collected [in] telling it. " 

In a few tactile cases, the percipient not only feels a touch, bub has 
a sense of being pushed or pulled by an external force ; see case of 
Mr. B. S. (No. 262. 6) in Chapter XVI. 

134 Report on the Census of Hallucinations. [chap. 

Chapter VII. 


In discussing the physiology of hallucinations we shall not enter 
upon any consideration of the physiological processes involved in 
veridical hallucinations as such ; since — as has already been explained 
in the introductory chapter — any such consideration would appear to 
us premature in the present condition of our knowledge of the subject. 
We shall confine ourselves to the phenomenon of hallucination, 
regarded on its physiological side, apart from whatever causes external 
to the percipient — whether physical or psychical — may have initiated it. 

The first question of interest is how far the hallucination, regarded 
on its physiological side, is generated in the brain or in the special 
organ of the sense affected. 

There seems to be no doubt that in a limited number of cases, of 
special types, hallucinations are initiated by the condition of the sense- 
organs. Thus, in the case of unilateral hallucinations (which, if spontane- 
ous, are probably always accompanied by pathological conditions), a dis- 
tinct lesion is sometimes found in the sense-organ of the same side, and 
the hallucinations often cease when the lesion is cured. Also hallucina- 
tions that move as the eye moves probably depend — partially, at least — 
on something in the eye. This type, however, is very rare among persons 
in a normal condition. In the Census, we have only one apparent 
instance of it, as follows : — 

(191. 17.) From Mr. H. B. K. 

October \%h, 1889. 
' ' [About 20 years ago] I was walking, about 9 o'clock one night in winter, 
when a quadrupedal form, something like a huge calf, suddenly seemed 
close upon me, and wherever I turned was always in front of me. I swept 
round me freely with my stick, but there was no contact. [It was] something 
different from what I had ever seen before. It approached me quite closely, 
but was shadowy, so that I could not tell its expression. It disappeared 
down a lane leading off at right angles to the one I was travelling. [I] was 
well and free from trouble ; from 25 to 28 years of age." 

Again, hypnagogic hallucinations of such types as stars or luminous 
points or objects, arranged as patterns or designs and shifting in a 
kaleidoscopic manner, or in which the figures move and swarm and 
change, may sometimes be genuine hallucinations having their origin in 
the " self-light " of the retina, and this explanation is also applicable 
to dreams of a similar nature. On the other hand, an observer 
quoted below (p. 141) who has recently sent us an account of his own 
experience of hypnagogic hallucinations, remarks : — 


Physiology of Hallucinations. 


"It is important to note that these visions are not betsed on any 
affection of the retina, [since they] retain what we estimate to be their 
positions in space, notwithstanding that the eyes be moved about." 

He compares them in this respect with memory images, remarking 
that the fact of both kinds of images being unaffected by the move- 
ments of the eye shows that the train of physical causes leading up to 
them originates in the brain. 

Again, diseases of the eye or ear are sometimes accompanied by 
visual or auditory hallucinations ; but our evidence seems to show that 
only a very small part of the phenomena reported to us can be I'eferred 
to this cause. The seven following cases are the only ones in the 
Census in which any defects of the sense-organs are reported. 

(1) No. 607.1. is a percipient subject to hallucinations. The 
collector writes : — " He has a curious weakness of the eyes, which for 
eleven years, from 17 to 28, quite incapacitated him from reading 
print. His sight for other things, such as fine lines in a drawing, was 
excellent, but letters in type all ' ran together.' He is better now, but 
has still some difficulty in reading." It is not clear from this descrip 
tion exactly what the defect is, but it is most probably some form of 
astigmatism, which is especially troublesome in reading, and would not 
obtrude itself so much in looking at other things, such as drawings. 

(2) No. 118.21., who has sometimes seen phantasmal cats and 
dogs, is very short-sighted. 

(3) No. 68.25. has occasionally had both auditory and visual 
hallucinations. The two eyes are of very different focus, the left eye 
being far-sighted and the right short-sighted, so that the percipient 
cannot use both at once without glasses. 

(4) No. 49.9., while blind from cataract, ' saw phantasmal figui'es. 

(5) No. 725.11., after having been operated on for cataract, saw 
two figures cross the room. 

(6) No. 430.15., who is quite deaf, frequently imagines that she 
hears music, both vocal and instrumental. 

(7) No. 704.10., has sometimes fancied he heard himself called, is 
increasingly deaf, and puts the fancies down to this cause. 

The last four cases mentioned are not counted in the Tables, on the 
ground that the hallucinations were probably due to the abnormal 
physical condition (see Chapter II., p. 36). 

It is to be observed that, from the nature of the ear, many defects 
in it, which from various causes give rise to deafness, may produce 
vibrations in the tympanum, which might initiate auditory hallucina- 
tions. This is much more probable than that defects in the eye should 
produce visual hallucinations. 

Of course, such common defects of vision as those mentioned in the 
first three cases must exist in more than three persons out of the 1,494 


Rei^ort on the Census of Hallucinations. [chap. 

whose experiences are included in our Tables. But these are the 
only ones who have thought them of sufficient importance in con- 
nection with their experiences to mention them. Any actual disease 
of the eye or ear would probably have been recorded in the majority 
of cases where it was present, and this has only been done, as stated 
above, in the four cases excluded on that ground. 

It happens that three of the crystal-seers whose experiences have 
been recorded at length in the Proceedings have certain defects of 
vision. With Mrs. Verrall, the left eye is far-sighted and the right 
short-sighted. {Proceedings S.P.R., Vol. VITL, p. 473.) "Miss X." is 
also longer-sighted with one eye than the other. Miss A. is very 
short-sighted. {Op. cit., p. 499). 

Now, it is well known that such imperfections of visions frequently 
lead to illusions, but there is no evidence to show that they are likely 
to produce hallucinations, and it is very improbable that the crystal 
visions in these cases are connected with them. Mrs. Verrall is, 
however, inclined to think that the movements that occur in her 
crystal visions are due to the movements of her eyes in attempting to 
bring the sight of the two eyes into correspondence, when not using 
her glasses. She is able to see pictures with either eye, but she has 
observed that movements in the picture do not occur when she is 
looking at the crystal with only one eye. A similar explanation was 
suggested by the lady whose hallucinatory history is given in Ajypendix 
D, of some of her experiences. Her right eye is shorter-sighted 
than her left, also binocular vision of any given object involves an 
effort, and it is to the movements of the eyes in such vision that 
she traces the movements of the hallucinatoiy cats and rats, which 
always appear to leap in the same direction, from right to left. If this 
explanation is the true one, it may be that the apparent movement 
of real objects caused by the movements of the eyes is transferred 
by suggestion to the hallucinatory object, 1)ut there is no ground for 
supposing that the hallucination itself is due to the defect of sight. 

Our general conclusion, then, is that the great bulk of the hallu- 
cinations included in our Census are not in any way dependent on the 
condition of the sense-organs of the percipients. 

The view that many — if not most — hallucinations are originated 
centrally, in the brain and not in the sense-organs, is that now generally 
held by physiologists, ^ as well as by psychologists. The chief grounds 
for this view are brought forward in the discussion on the subject in 
Phantasms of the Living, Vol I., pp. 464-495, and the great majority 
of the hallucinations included in the Census exhibit characteristics 
which are there shown to be much more easily referable to a central 

1 See Foster's Phiisiology. 5th Edition, p. 1270. 


Physiology of Hallucinations. 


than to any other origin. Thus, the percipients are generally, as far as 
we know, in a noi'mal physical condition in all respects ; the hallucina- 
tions are generally unique in their experience ; they sometimes take a 
form which is undoubtedly connected with some idea in the percipient's 
mind at the moment (for examples, see Chapter IX., p. 170); they 
occasionally develop from a non-sensory to a sensory stage, e.g., No. 
555. 5 (see p. 286) ; in many instances, they affect more than one sense 
at the same time, and it is very unlikely that two sense-organs should 
happen to be temporarily affected — -in an imperceptible way — at the 
same moment, so as to produce such a correspondence. 

Professor Sully thinks that while vague rudimentary hallucinations 
of sight and hearing may most reasonably be attributed to the action 
of the peripheral parts of the nervous system, what he calls "com- 
pletely developed " hallucinations— i.e., of the kinds included in the 
present collection — are generally caused by the automatic activity of 
the nerve centres. [Illusions, p. 115.) Speaking of persistent dream- 
images, he I'emarks {Ojo. cit., p. 143) " That the visual images of our 
sleep do often involve the peripheral regions of the organ of sight seems 
to be proved by the singular fact that they sometimes persist after 
waking." The cerebral activity that produces a hallucination "may 
probably," he maintains, " diffuse itself downwards to the peripheral 
regions of the nerves" (p. 113), so that the sense-organs may thus 
become involved secondarily. 

Wundt takes the same view of the physiological action involved in 
fully externalised hallucinations,^ but he seems to base his view partly 
on the assumption that hallucinations move with the mo^'ements of the 
eye. As mentioned above, this is only recoi'ded in one out of our 1,295 
cases of visual hallucinations, so that it cannot be regarded as one of 
their general characteristics. 

We pass, then, to consider this hypothesis of the secondary partici- 
pation of the sense-organs in hallucinations through a downward sen- 
sory impulse from the brain. We may begin by remarking that it 
is inconsistent with generally accepted physiological theories of the 
action of the nervous system ; or, at all events, that no physiological 
facts are known which lend it any support. It is true that many 
persons by dwelling on the idea of a sensation, such as warmth, cold, 
pressure, can apparently excite the sensation in any part of the skin, 
accompanied by definite peripheral effects, e.g., reddening of the skin, 

Gmndziirje dcr Physiologischen Psychologic, Vol. II., p. 432. "Visual halluci- 
nations occurring before going to sleep are sometimes so vivid that, as .J. Miiller, H. 
Meyer and others have observed, they may be followed by after-images. In such 
cases, it seems as if the excitation of the central sensory tracts had extended itself ta 
the retina. The same thing may be said of such phantasms as, in full daylight, mingle 
with external visual perceptions." 

138 Report on the Census of Hallucinations. [chap. 

Such effects give rise to sensory impulses, which, being transmitted to 
the brain, add to the vividness of the sensation perceived. But there 
is still no evidence of any downward sensory impulse to the peri- 
phery : for all the peripheral effects may be accounted for by motor 
impulses from the brain, causing contractions of the muscles and 
dilatations or constrictions of the blood-vessels of the skin, etc. And 
a similar explanation is still more obvious in other cases of periphei'al 
activity accompanying mental images like a faint echo of the cerebral 
activity involved — as, for instance, when the idea of a movement is 
accompanied by incipient movements of the kind imagined. 

The chief argument for the existence in hallucinations of a downward 
sensory impulse, whereby the sense-organs are supposed to be affected, 
appears to lie in a a alleged resemblance between hallucinations and 
the retinal after-images which, in ordinary vision, follow on the sight 
of an object. The parallel is drawn closer by showing that hallucina- 
tions occur corresponding to both positive and negative retinal after- 
images ; the hallucinatory colours in the latter cases being comple- 
mentary to those seen in an antecedent perception, real or hallucina- 
tory. Now retinal after-images are dependent — partially, at least — 
on exhaustion of the retina ; hence it is argued that, in the hallu- 
cinations that resemble after-images, the retina must also be concerned ; 
and that, where the proximate origin of the hallucination is clearly 
cerebral, a downward sensory impulse from the brain to the retina 
must be assumed. This argument requires careful consideration. 

In ordinary vision, positive after-images of real objects are obtained 
when a strong stimulus lias been applied to the eye for a short time, 
e.g., when a bright light is looked at for a few moments. The sensation 
then persists for some time after the withdrawal of the stimulus, 
giving rise to an after-image, which is perceived continuously, though 
it may wax and wane in a rhythmical way, and its apparent intensity 
depends partly on contrast with the background on which it is 

Now such after-images might in all cases be I'egarded as in a cer- 
tain sense hallucinatory ; but our inquiry was framed to exclude 
familiar experiences of this kind, and accordingly they have not been 
reported to us. It is held, however, that a phenomenon similar to 
such an after-image also occurs when images seen with closed eyes 
persist after the eyes are opened : and of this our Census does afford 
examples, in the cases of persistent dream-images of which specimens 
were given in Chap. IV. An account of Meyer's experiments on this 
point is given in Professor James' Principles of Psychology, Vol. II., 
p. 67. After long practice in improving his powers of voluntary 
visualisation, Meyer found that the images called up with closed eyes, 
" especially when they were bright, left after-images behind them 


Physiology of Hallucinations. 


when the eyes were quickly opened during their presence. For 
example, I thought of a silver stirrup, and after I had looked at it 
a while, I opened my eyes, and for a long while afterwards saw its 

J, Miiller, who had spontaneous experiences of a somewhat similar 
kind, writes ^ : — " On waking in a dark room, it sometimes happens 
that images of landscapes and similar objects still float before the 
eyes. ... It has become my custom, when I perceive such images, 
immediately to open my eyes and direct them upon the wall or 
surrounding bodies. The images are then still visible, but quickly 
fade. They are seen whichever way the head is turned, but I have 
not observed that they moved with the eyes." 

It is cases such as these that Wundt quotes as instances where the 
central nervous excitation seems to have extended itself to the 

There does not, however, appear to be any physiological evidence 
tending to show that the retina is involved in these quasi-after- 
images. Moreover, in order that this hypothesis may supply a com- 
plete explanation of their occurrence, we require to assume, not a 
mere affection of the retina, but a stimulus applied over a certain 
definite area of the retina, of the same shape as the image seen ; and 
it is diflicult to suppose that such an effect could be produced by a 
* downward impulse from the brain, in the absence of any special 
mechanism for directing the stimulus to any particular part of the 

There is a still greater difficulty in supposing the retina to be 
involved in another class of cases — the so-called " deferred after- 
images," — where a considerable interval of time elapses between the 
original percept and the hallucination which is supposed to be its 

The following is the only clear example of this class which our 
Census aSbrds : but it is not improbable that this is the real explana- 
tion of the hallucination in other cases, in which the original percept 
has been forgotten. 

"I was staying at an hotel at North Berwick, N.B., in the autumn of 
1884. My daughter had joined me there, and we sat up together till a late 
hour. She wore a bright red dress and sat in bright gas-light, and as we 
talked I had my eyes constantly fixed on her. I had been sound asleep for 
about an hour when T woke suddenly and saw an image, as it were, of my 
daughter lying beside me, the bright dress and complexion illuminated in 

(192. 21.) 

From Mrs. A. 

October 21st, 1889. 

'^Elements of Physiology. (Translation by W. Baly, London, 1842), p. 1394. 

140 Report on the Census of Hallucinations. [chap. 

a bright light. The figure had a wooden, rigid look. I had time to sit up in 
bed and stretch out my hand to light a match before the figure vanished. 

" I was not out of health or in grief or anxiety. I was quite alone. 

" I have never had any such experience before or since. 

" My own impression is that it was an optical delusion. I had had 
my eyes fixed for a considerable time on my daughter's face, but then I had 
undressed and been some time in my room before I went to sleep, and the 
vision was so clear and vivid, as it seemed to lie beside me, that it startled, 
me much." 

Some experiments, resembling the case just quoted, in producing- 
on waking in the morning the image of an object seen just before 
closing the eyes at night, are described in Proceedings S. P. R., Yol. 
VIII, pp. 450-2. The plan of the experimenter, Mr. Bakewell, is 
on waking to " open his eyes on a plain white ceiling and instantly 
close them again, having just admitted a vague flash of light into the 
eye." He is inclined to regai'd the images seen as "secondary or 
tardy positive after-images ; as if, in addition to the first positive after- 
image immediately arising, there was a feeble series of vibrations, 
which, if left undisturbed by counter-vibrations, gradually by their 
summation came to be of sufficient importance to give a bright positive 
image, provided any sudden uniform stimulation of the retina should 
set these banked-up energies off." 

With regard to the part supposed to be played by the retina here, * 
it is to be remarked that the conditions under which the " after- 
images " are seen are exactly the reverse of those which favour the 
development of true retinal after-images. The latter are the result of 
retinal activity and the stronger the stimulus or the more sensitive the 
retina, the more vivid is the image, which persists for some time and 
then gradually fades. In Mr. Bakewell's experiments, on the other 
hand, as in Mrs. A.'s case quoted immediately before, the image 
follows on a condition of the greatest possible repose of the retina, 
when the eyes had been for a long time closed, and in the dark. It 
would therefore seem much more probable that it is merely a memory- 
image, — that is, that it originates in the brain and has nothing to 
do with the retina. This interpretation is applied by another 
percipient, Dr. Flournoy, to a similar set of experiences — hypnagogic 
hallucinations which I'eproduced real objects on which he had concen- 
trated his attention for a long time during the previous day — quoted in 
the same paper {Op. cit., pp. 453-4). Dr. Flournoy remarks, " I regard 
these hypnagogic images and all memory-images, however recent and 
intense, as radically different from the ' after-images ' of the eye." 
Other instances of this type are given in Phantasms of the Living, Vol. 
I, p. 490. The following case is taken from a paper " On the Limits of 
Vision " by Dr. G. J. Stoney, published in the Philosojihical Magazine 


Physiology of Hallucinations. 


for March, 1894. It will be seen that Dr. Stoney takes the same view 
as Dr. Flournoy of the origin of the images. 

"The experience I had myself was one which frequently occurred to me 
when a lad. Several of us boys were fond of witnessing sham fights in 
the Phojnix Park, at which some of the most conspicuous objects were the 
single horsemen who now and then galloped at full speed, with orders, from 
■one part of the field to another. Almost always, after a day spent in viewing 
this spectacle, as I lay in bed at night I saw vividly what seemed to be a 
tiny horseman gallo2:)ing violently from right to left, or from left to right, as 
the case might be. All the movements of the horse were reproduced, the 
dashing about of the sabre-tache, the coloured uniform, the movements of 
the horseman. It cannot have been in the retina that this revival took 
place. It must have been in a much more deep-seated part of the brain." 

This explanation seems also applicable to the following case which 
appeared in Nature for October 5th, 1893 : — 

" A remarkable case of resuscitation of an optical image is described from 
personal experience by Professor T. Vignoli in a paper recently commu- 
nicated to the -Rea'e InsUtnio Lombardo. On the morning of July 3rd, after 
:a railway journey in a bright sun, and two days' walk in a sufi'ocating heat, 
he happened to be in a room with several other persons, and during conver- 
sation looked at a balcony bathed in bright sunlight, but without taking any 
special interest in it. The balcony was decorated with trellis-woi'k and ivy. 
Plowering creepers were arranged in vertical columns, each column being 
■crossed below by the iron bars of the balcony, and above by sticks sup- 
porting the plants. A cage with two birds hung up in the middle. Two 
■days afterwards, very early in the morning, the professor was in bed, but 
perfectly awake, and in ordinary health, when, to his astonishment, he saw 
on the ceiling, by the light coming through Venetian blinds of two large 
windows, an exact reproduction, in all its colours and details, of the balcony 
referred to. The phenomenon lasted long enough to permit some detailed 
investigation. On closing the eyes, the image disappeared, to appear again 
when they were opened. It was unaffected by regarding it with each eye 
alternately. A finger placed between the eye and the image intercepted it 
in the same manner as it would any ordinary object ; in short, the phenomenon 
obeyed all the optical laws of vision. And not only was the cage of birds 
reproduced, but also its swinging motion noticed before." 

Similarly, in the following case, taken from our Census, there is a 
considerable interval between the original impression and its hallu- 
cinatory reproduction, which makes it practically certain that it could 
not have been due to retinal action. 

(733. 18.) From Mr. F. De V. 

March 29th, 1892. 

' ' I heard a noise in the corridor, and on looking that way I saw a man 
in grave clothes, standing at the entrance. 1 was much terrified, and 
rushed out into the back premises, whither my father followed me to find 

142 Report on the Census of Hallucinations. ' [chap. 

me stretched upon the ground. Place Maceio, capital of Alagoas, Brazil, 
year 1858, 8 o'clock in the evening more or less. The man seen had very- 
long hair. The impression was very vivid. 

" I was studying, but was in a very nervous state. Age 11. 

' ' My imagination was tormented by the image of the man who appeared 
to me. I knew [him], and I had found him shortly before lying in his coflBn 
in the church. The sight of the corpse had produced a profound impression 
on me, and was the cause of my nervousness. The sound might have had 
a very natural cause. 

"I was alone in the room." 

All these hallucinations seem to be of essentially the same type, 
differing from one another chiefly in the length of time between the 
vision of the real object and that of its hallucinatory reproduction, but 
by such comparatively small degrees that it would be arbitrary to draw 
the line at any point, and to say that one of them was a retinal after- 
image and another a memory -image. In all cases, the I'etina must have 
long recovered from the effects of the original stimulus, and — except 
when the hallucinations occurred on waking — had been subjected to a 
great number of subsequent stimuli. There is nothing in the physiology 
of the retina, so far as this is known, to suggest the possibility of any 
such selective retention of after-images as would be implied in recurring 
to a long-past impression, after passing through a subsequent series of 
impressions. On the other hand, a memory-image can, of course, recur 
at any time. 

The repetition of a hallucination, after a shorter or longer interval, 
seems to be a phenomenon of the same kind. The second hallucination 
may be called an " after-image " of the first, but is pi'obably nothing- 
more than a revival of memory of the first, excited by some association 
of ideas, as that of being in the same place, or under similar circum- 
stances again. For instance, hallucinations induced during one 
hypnosis may recur spontaneously in a subsequent hypnosis. 

Some interesting instances of hallucinations traceable to the revival 
of memory of long past scenes are to be found in the experiences of 
" Miss X." {Proceedings S.P.R., Vol. V., pp. 506-510) which seem to be 
of es.sentially the same nature as the " deferred after-images " already 
quoted, though the interval before the recrudescence of memory was 
much longer — so long that the percipient had often forgotten the 
scenes pictured till she was reminded of them by seeing them again 
represented. The first experience described in the following case is 
somewhat analogous. 

(49. 5.) From Mrs. L. 

(The account was written in 1889). 
" In September, 1854, I was thrown from a dog-cart on to my head, and 
stunned. My life flashed before me, but the only thing that remained was 


Physiology of Hallucinations. 


the apprarance of a red setter dog, running at me. This continued many 
days, and I could not speak of it. My mother came and then I told her I 
feared my brain was injured, as I was haunted by a red setter dog. She 
said directly that, being very nervous, she had not wished me to be told or 
talked to about it, but that, before I could speak, the nurse put me down on 
the lawn, whilst she ran back to the house. I had on a little grey fur 
pelisse, and before they could reach me, a large red setter dog of my uncle's 
had run at me, and shaken me nearly unconscious, taking me for a rabbit. 
After this explanation, the dog never appeared to me again.'' 

Mrs. Sidgwick writes : — 

''July Uth, 1S89. 

" I saw Mrs. L. yesterday and questioned her about the dog case. I 

think it was an externalised hallucination. She could not describe the 
impression very clearly. A dog's head at her side snapping at her seems to 
have been what she saw, and she gave me the impression by her gestures 
that it was continually — during the few days that she was haunted by it — 
appearing sideways, but in the dii'ect line of vision, and disappeai'ing when 
she looked full at it. At all events it was not, apparently, a full view of a 
whole dog which could be followed with the eyes and taken for a real dog. 
She is quite clear as to the correspondence of her visionary dog and her 
mother's account of the real one, but of course the recollections are not now 
indejjendent. It is some confirmation of the correspondence, perhaps, that, 
while stunned with the blow, remembered scenes of early childhood passed 
vividly before her — in particular some connected with the illness of a 
favourite dog, which died when she was about six years old. These 
remembered scenes did not, however, haunt her, and probably they were 
not fully externalised ; they occurred during the more definite brain 
disturbance at the time of the fall. She probably had a slight concussion, 
but went about as usual, though feeling and looking very ill, and saw no 
doctor till two or three days after the accident, when her mother came. It 
was during these few days that the dog haunted her and gave her the 
impression that her brain had been injured, till her mother dispelled it." 

It will be convenient to quote in connection with the above 
another experience of the same lady's, though here the hallucination 
was probably not a reproduction of anything actually seen, but of 
a scene vividly imagined at a remote period, and afterwards recalled 
through association of ideas, of which the links can be traced. 

" About September, 1881, aged 46, and 18 months after the sudden death 
of my mother, which had shaken my nerves very much, one night towards 
morning, being awake to the best of my belief, I saw a woman come through 
the door. Her face was sideways and I distinctly saw her features. She 
passed slowly from the door and went out at window opposite, thus passing 
across the foot of my bed. She had on an old-fashioned bonnet and an old- 
fashioned caped cloak, and she was carrying a basket in front of her such as 
country women carried their husbands' dinners in. The whole figure was 
semi-opaque, neutral tinted, like thick smoke or cloud. A great hurricane 
was blowing. I was dreadfully disturbed and hysterical next day, — the 

144 Report on the Census of Hallucinations. [chap. 

impression so vivid, and yet unable to say who it was. About a week after, 
the revelation came. I sat down to dinner, became very hysterical and 
faint, and went into another room alone in the dark. All at once I jumped 
up saying, ' It is Mrs. Beasant.' Mrs. Beasant was the pretty young bride 
of a farmer with whom when about ten years old we used to go and take tea 
at a farm two or three miles from the vicarage. One day she went with her 
husband's dinner as usual and he was felling a tree. She passed the wrong 
way and the tree fell on her and killed her. I remember watching her 
funeral with my nurse, and the anguish of spirit at her death, but never 
remember speaking of it or the circumstance since. The day before the 
ajjpearance, a nurse of the name of ' Beasant ' had disturbed and annoyed 
me. A few months before, a large elm-tree had fallen in our garden and 
partly on the house. A hurricane was blowing at the time, and I reuiember 
thinking ' what a lucky thing that tree can't fall on the roof. ' I was sleeping 

We have now to consider the class of hallucinations that resemble 
complementary or negative after-images of some antecedent hallucina- 
tory percept or voluntarily produced image. It is claimed that the 
antecedent percept must have involved an affection of the retina, and 
so produced a negative after-image ; and, since it is clear in most — if 
not all — of the cases in question that the first percept originated in 
the brain, a downward sensory impulse from brain to retina has to be 
postulated, in order that the retina may be involved. 

We will give examples of hallucinations of this class before dis- 
cussing their explanation. MM. Binet and Fere, who have tried 
many experiments on hallucinations of colour induced in their hypnotic 
subjects, with results more uniform than those obtained by most other 
observers, say, (Animal Magnetism, p. 191): — "We have seen subjects 
who could at pleasure, and in the waking state. . . when looking 
attentively at a sheet of white paper, cause it to appear red, blue, 
green, etc., and the colour thus evoked would be sufficiently distinct 
to give birth in due succession to the complementary colour, which 
the subject could indicate correctly." M. Fere found that he could 
picture to himself the idea of red so intensely that at the end of a few 
minutes he was able to see a green patch upon the white paper ; but 
repeated efforts were requii'ed before he was able to associate an outline 
with the colour. {Op. cit., p. 255). 

With their hypnotic subjects, they found that complementary after- 
images, resembling in all respects a normal negative image, followed 
on induced hallucinations of colour, and the experiments were repeated 
by Charcot. They state that these experiments have always succeeded 
with subjects who were certainly ignorant of the sequence of com- 
plementary colours, and the answers were always given correctly in 
the first experiment. Their results are confirmed by previous observa- 
tions made by M. Parinaud on the phenomenon of simultaneous con- 


Physiology of Hallucinations. 


trast ; he found that a piece of paper divided by a line, on being 
presented to a hypnotised subject, to whom it was suggested that one- 
half of the paper was red, appeared to her green on the other half. 
{Op. cit., p. 250). 

MM. Binet and Fere also experimented on the mixture of 
imaginary colours and found that it gave resultant shades which 
were in conformity with optical laws. (Op. cit., p. 256.) Similar 
experiments have been tried with the same results by Professor 
Lombroso, who made his subjects look through a glass of some given 
(hallucinatory) colour at hallucinatory images of the solar spectrum. 
{Proceedings, S.P.R., Vol. VIII., p. 447). So uniform were the results 
obtained by MM. Binet and Fere that they generalised from them 
thus (in speaking of after-images) : — " We have ascertained that 
hallucinatory vision is subject to the same conditions [as ordinary 
external vision] ] every hallucination of some persistence is succeeded, 
on its disappearance, by an after-image, just as in the case of ordinary 
sensations which affect the retina." {Oj). cit., p. 252.) 

Further, Dr. C. T. G-reen, of Birkenhead, records an experiment 
with one of his hypnotic subjects, who, after being made to see a 
hallucinatory red cross, soon saw the complementary colour sponta- 
neously ^ ; but the results of other observers and experimenters have 
varied a good deal. Again, with regard to colours voluntarily 
visualised, Mr. Keulemans {Proceedings, S.P.R., Vol VIII., p. 480) 
states that after calling up mentally a bright red he can sometimes 
see the complementary colour on the ceiling, though he cannot get the 
complementaries of pale shades, such as lemon yellow, and lilac, greys 
or brown. 

A few cases have also been recorded of dream-images persisting 
with complementary colours. Gruithuisen (quoted by Professor Sully, 
Illusions, p. 144), " had a dream in which the principal feature was a 
violet flame, and which left behind it, after waking, for an appreciable 
duration, a complementary image of a yellow spot." The following 
somewhat similar case was received by us a short time ago, from the 
Hon. Mrs. Drummond : — 

" 64, Lower Leeson-street, Dublin, November ifh, 1892. 

" I was dreaming of being in a drawing-room furnished with a variety of 
knick-nacks in glass and china, when my attention appeared to be arrested 
by a large green vase of particularly graceful shape. I felt myself gazing 
intently at this object, when I awoke very suddenly and completely. 

"I occupied a few seconds in looking about me, collecting the letters 
which had been brought in, when a slight uneasiness in my eyes made me 
close them. I then saw the vase at which I had been staring in my dream 

1 Borderland, January, 1894, p. 225. 


146 Report on the Census of Hallucinations. [chap. 

appear within the closed eyelids in red, the complementary colour of green, 
exactly as it would have done had I looked as long at a real object and then 
shut my eyes." 

Mrs. Druramond wrote later : — 

" December 5th, 1892. 

"I think tlie incident in question happened about four years ago. 

" I regret that I did not at the time write down any account of what I 
had seen ; but I was profoundly impressed by the circumstance, the only 
one which ever led me to doubt for an instant that we are right in speaking 
of ' the baseless fabric of a dream.' 

" I am sure that there was nothing in the room which could produce the 
after-image of the vase I had seen in my dream, a two-handled vase of a 
beautiful and classical pattern. 

"Adelaide Deummond." 

There is, therefore, sufficient evidence of the interesting fact that 
hallucinatory percepts are occasionally followed by negative after- 
images. But the inference of several psychologists ^ that the retina 
must be involved in such cases seems to us quite unwarrantable. 
As Mr. Gurney points out, such after-images do not " imply more than 
the brief continuance of excitation at the ce7itral cells "2; and MM. 
Binet and Fere themselves do not think of inferring from their experi- 
ments any affection of the retina : they merely infer from them that 
hallucinations involve an excitation of the sensory centres in the 

It is probable that even ordinary retinal after-images of real objects 
are not dependent solely on fatigue of the retina,^ and Professor Hering 
leaves the question open as to whether the physiological processes 
which he considers to be associated with the formation of after-images 
take place in the brain or in the retina. 

That cerebral action alone is at all events capable of producing 
similar effects seems to be shown by some experiments published by 
Mr. John Gorham in Brain (1881-2), Vol. IV., p. 465, in which colour- 
sensations received through one eye modified those received through the 
other. In one experiment, (a) the effect of simultaneous contrast, 

1 The views of Professors Sully and Wundt have already been quoted. Profeasor 
James also says : — (Principles of Psycholorjy, Vol. II., p. 70). " The current demon- 
strably does flow backward down the optic nerve in Meyer's and Fere's negative after- 
image. Therefore it can flow backward ; therefore it may flow backward in some, 
however slight, degree, in all imagination." He applies the same theory to the com- 
plementary hallucinatory colours in M.M. Binet and Feri^'s hypnotic experiments. 

-Phantasms of the Living. Vol. I., p. 487, foot-note. 

3 "We have no right to suppose that the exhaustion takes i^lace in the retinal 
structures only ; it may occur in the central cerebral structures during the develop- 
ment of visual impulses into sensations ; indeed the chief part of it is probably of 
such a cerebral origin." (Foster's Physiology, r)th edition, p. 12(;G.) 


Physiology of Hallucinations. 


which is generally associated with the action of one part of a retina 
on another part of the same, was produced by the apparent action of 
one eye on the other. "While green light was falling into the right eye, 
and white light — through a pin-hole — into the left, the left eye seemed 
to see a small pink disc. In the next experiment (h), the conditions of 
(a) were maintained until the effect just described was produced, and 
then the green light was removed from the right eye. The pink disc 
apparently seen by the left eye then turned green. In repeating these 
experiments, we have observed that the green colour in experiment (6) 
is much more obvious than the pink in experiment [a). A somewhat 
similar experiment, though with a different result, is described by 
Professor James {Principles of Psychology, Vol. II, p. 71, foot-note). 
On looking with one eye open at a coloured spot on a white back- 
ground, then closing that eye and looking with the other at a plain 
background, a colour complementary to the first will appear. We 
have not, however, been able to verify this result from personal 

In all these experiments, the appearances seen, as far as the eye 
which receives only white light is concerned, can hardly be due to any 
action of the retina of that eye, and must, therefore, depend on 
cerebral action. The cerebral action is, of course, initiated by the 
stimulation applied to the other eye; but the effect, which is apparently 
produced on one eye through the influence of the other, is actually a 
cerebral effect. 

This view is confirmed by " Miss X.'s " experiences in crystal- 
vision (Proceedings S.P.R., Vol. VIII., p. 484) ; of which a 
noteworthy feature is that while one crystal picture shows a 
colour complementary to that of the preceding one, the form of the 
second picture may be entirely different from that of the first. 
Thus, a lady in a blue gown is replaced by a little boy in a bright 
orange garment ; a pale green picture of a man tearing up palings is 
followed by a red picture of the corner of the library. This pheno- 
menon clearly cannot be compared with an ordinary retinal negative 
after-image. Miss X. also says that after staring at a (real) red flower 
she can see a green one in the crystal (such a case may, however, be 
simply a negative after-image of the ordinary kind), and that on 
summoning up a (hallucinatory) red flower in the crystal, she can see a 
green patch on the wall, or in another crystal. Or a blue picture, 
conjured up with closed eyes, on being transferred to the crystal, 
would appear as orange. " Or," she says, " if I merely desire a change 
of colour in a crystal picture, I find that blue is followed by orange, 
yellow by purple, green by red. ... It may be worth noting that 
a distinct effort is required to convert a scene — lighted, for example, 
with red — to its natural colouring, or even to a neutral tint. It is 

L 2 

148 Report on the Census of Hallucinations. [chap. 

necessary to close the eyes, or to look away for a moment ; so that 
what follows is a second edition rather than a prolongation of the first 
picture. On the other hand, the mere desire for change will produce 
a green light rapidly alternating with the original hue." (Op. cit., 
p. 487.) 

Our general conclusion, then, is that the phenomena of hallucination 
do not require, nor in any degree support, the difficult physiological 
hypothesis of retinal action. It is simpler to suppose that hallucinatory 
percepts, being subjectively indistinguishable from those produced by 
real objects, involve cerebral activity closely similar to that normally 
excited by visual impulses from the retina, and thus tend to be followed 
by cerebral exhaustion — similar to that resulting from such retinal 
impulses— and consequently by similar after-images. 

It should l^e observed that the activity involved is no less purely 
cerebral if, as we are inclined to think, in many of the cases we have 
given, expectation is, in whole or in part, the real cause of the 
phenomena. Expectation can hardly be excluded in the case of 
educated observers, when their attention has once been called to 
the possibility of producing the complementary colours. Again, the 
activity also remains cerebral if, as is further possible, the sequence is 
due to another cause, namely, that the mind being weary of seeing one 
colour, consciously or unconsciously attempts to call up for a relief the 
complementary colour, because it is accustomed to associate this sequence 
with the idea of relief. Thus "Miss X." found that the mere desire 
for change in her crystal pictures would sometimes produce a green 
light rapidly alternating with the original hue — green being the colour 
most restful to the eyes and therefore perhaps, by association, to 
the mind. 


Age in Relation to hallucinations. 


Chapter VIII. 


^ ' Age. 

The ages at which the hallucinations included in our Census 
occurred, range from about three to about eighty years, and there is no 
reason to doubt that hallucinations may occur at any age at which 
visual perception is possible at all. Nor does there seem to be any 
much greater disposition to hallucinations at one age than at another, 
though it will be seen from the last line of Table XI that the propor- 
tion seems to be somewhat higher between 20 and 30 than at other 
ages. It is noticeable that this is the period of life when the organism 
has reached its full development, but has not yet begun to decay. 

As already stated, however, in Chapter III, pp. 65 and 68,we believe 
our information to be specially defective as regards the number of 
hallucinations at early ages, so that the small proportion of youthful 
hallucinations reported cannot be taken as evidence that hallucinations 
are rare in early youth. Indeed, it is, of course, impossible to know 
much as to the nature and frequency of hallucinations among young 
children. Their memory, and in some respects their observation, is 
untrustworthy, and when they are too young to express themselves, 
evidence about their hallucinations — like that about hallucinations 
supposed to be experienced by animals — can only rest on the inferences 
of others from their actions. Still, there are clear cases of halluci- 
nations being experienced by children, and some observers have even 
been disposed to think that children are specially liable to them. 
An instance of an apparition of a person recently dead being seen 
by a child just under two years old is recorded in the Annales des 
Sciences Psychiques (January — February, 1894, p. 7). This is perhaps 
the earliest age at which such a case has been authenticated. 

As regards the kinds of hallucinations experienced by children, 
we have only noticed one peculiarity, and that is the relative 
frequency among them, compared with adults, of apparitions repre- 
senting grotesque or fanciful objects. ^ Of the apparitions in the 
present collection classed as "grotesque, horrible, or monstrous," 

1 The following is a rough analysis of the hallucinations of this class included in 
our Tables : — 

Childish cases. — Diminutive figures of men or animals, often "swarming," 
5 cases. Out-of-the-way figures, viz., Red Indian, Turks, Halberdier, 4 cases. 
Bedroom frequently peopled with strange beings. Procession of toy cocks. Pro- 
cession carrying headless negro. Figure with parasol walking across sky. Immense 

150 Report on the Cenm^s of Hallucinations. [chap. 

more than half occurred to children, and 12 out of 33 — or 36 per 
cent. — to children under 10 years old, whereas of all kinds of visual 
hallucinations together, only 8 per cent, occurred to children under 10. 
The reason, doubtless, is that children's judgment of what is likely 
to occur is less clearly formed; they do not instinctively draw the same 
line between the expected and unexpected that adults usually draw. 
The same difference is shown in ideas that do not develop into halluci- 
nations. An imaginary lion under the bed is a source of infantine 
terror, but similar nervousness in a grown-up person suggests that there 
is a burglar there. In dreams, when our judgment is more or less in 
abeyance, and in delirium and insanity, hallucinatory figures unlike 
real life are apt to occur to adults, just as they seem to do in ordinary 
life to children. 

The following are instances of youthful hallucinations : — 

(350. 18.) From Mr. H. C. 

August 31si, 1890. 

" When at Wells, being at the time a schoolboy, I followed a party of 
fi'iends to see the Cathedral. I was detained by work a few minutes, and 
ran after the party. On entering the Cathedral I found it quite empty, my 
friends, I fancy, having gone up the tower. I heard a noise, and looking up 
saw a figure, dressed in the armour of a halberdier, moving along the 
gallery above the arches of the nave. The appaiition was only momentary. 
This occurred about the year 1865. I was aged about ten." 

(324. 12.) From Mr. W. K. S. 

(The account was written in 1889). 

" Once, when a very small child, on looking out of the nursery window, 
in London, on a fine cloudless day (in the morning), [I] saw a gaily-dressed 
figure, with a bright-coloured jDarasol, walk across the sky. It produced a 
very vivid impression on [my] mind at the time, and for some considerable 
period afterwards." 

(390. 1.) From the Rev. A. H. 

January 23rd, 1891. 
"Long ago, certainly more than fifty, probably nearly sixty, years 
ago, when I was a boy — so young that I slept in a little bed in my father and 
mother's room — I was lying awake one summer morning, and there I sud- 
denly saw on the ceiling of the room a procession of white cocks. They were 
not jjure white, but had that slight tinge of yellow, or whatever you may 

tower. Kitchen clock pursuing percipient. Boots trotting across room. Tree at 
foot of bed. 

Adult cases. — Skulls or skeletons, 3 cases (one of them recurring). Horrid figures, 
e.g., corpse, 2 cases (one of them recurring in various forms). Figures taken for the 
devil or for an evil genius as described by Swedenborg, 3 cases. Grotesque animal, 1 
case. Queer things seen in a bad light out-of-doors, 6 cases (the most definite of these 
was a brougham with a headless coachman.) 

Till.] Age in Relation to Hallucinations. ■ 151 

•call it, which appears on white fowls, and with red wattles, exactly as 
white cocks have. They glided backwards in single file along the roof before 
my eyes, and disappeared, one after another, behind the curtain of my 
mother's bed without making any motion, except that each cock, just before 
it disappeared, went through all the motions of crowing, but emitted no 
sound. There must have been from 8 to 12 of them, and when the last of 
them disappeared behind the curtain I saw them no more. I knew per- 
fectly well that they were not there, that they were what I should now call 
optical delusions, but I saw them as plainly as ever I saw a real fowl in my 
life. I could recall them (i.e., their appearance) whenever I chose, just as I 
can at the present day, but the difference between the image which I called 
up and the delusion which I witnessed was as great and as real to me as 
is the difference between the presence of a person and the image 1 form of 
liim in his absence. I was awed but not frightened at the sight, and said 
nothing about it to my mother or to anyone, for I knew I should be checked for 
telling a story. The procession lasted, I suppose, for about a minute, and I 
saw nothing more that morning. I never saw these cocks again. 

Next morning I am quite sure I saw nothing at all, and perhaps for 
another morning or two T saw nothing, but soon afterwards I began to see 
on the ceiling great numbers of moving figures. The cocks which I saw 
were associated in my mind with toy stucco cocks, which were sold in the 
crockery shops, coarse clumsy things which had no proper legs, but stood on 
a mass of stucco. My cocks were as perfect as nature, but they, too, had 
no proper legs ; they had a mass below their bodies, which supported them, 
and so I have no doubt that these toy-cocks were the basis of my vision. 
The figures which I now began to see bore a great resemblance to another 
set of toys which I used to see in the shop windows — i.e., j)ewter soldiers, 
horses, gigs, &c., &c., but, unlike the toys, they were (like the cocks) per- 
fect in form, coloured like nature, and moved naturally. The horses trotted, 
the wheels turned round, the men walked, and so on. These I continued to 
see in great numbers many days ; all dread and awe of them entirely dis- 
a^jpeared, and I became extremely interested in them, and liked to watch 
them. One thing I remember ; I had not the power of controlling their 
motions ; like my ships, they went about where they liked. They lasted in 
the morning till I got up, and I never saw any during the day. I do not 
know how long these visions continued ; certainly, however, for many days 
during that summer, but, though I could, and even now can, recall their 
appearance completely, I never saw any more at any other time. 

" I give you the history of this childish hallucination for what it is worth. 
I have often thought over it, and though it happened so long ago, I think you 
may rely upon the absolute accuracy of my narrative." 

"On reading the above to my son, a youth of 20, he told me an incident 
of his childhood, which I asked him to write out, and which I now enclose. 
He was then a child in petticoats." 

The following is the account referred to ^ : — 

' This case is not included in our Tables, as the percipient was under 21 at the 
time the account was sent us. 

152 Report on the Census of Hallucinations. [chap. 

" One of my earliest recollections —the earliest of all, I think — is a story- 
book with a picture of some hideous animal on the cover. Of this animal I 
was much afraid, and one day, on going alone into a room, I suddenly saw 
this animal (about the size of the picture) standing on the carpet. I pi'omptly 
turned and fled, and for a long time after nothing would induce me to go 
into that room. 

" E. M. H." 

(152. 9). From Mr. J. S. 

April 27th, 1892. 

' ' I am now on the verge of seventy-six. About seventy years ago I had 
to lie on a board for two years, one fold of blanket under me, for spinal 
complaint. Once during this time I was amused by seeing a number of 
little dogs, busily running in and out of holes they had made in the ground ; 
to me the sight was real, and exceedingly amusing. On another occasion I 
saw, or believed I saw, the washhand-basin on the table close to the window, 
and a number of little men and women (black), about three inches high, 
running about and getting into and out of the water ; this lasted some time, 
to my great amusement, and seemed to me more real than the other, my 
recollection of both being very distinct even now. I cannot be sure I had 
these delusions more than once, and supposed myself wide awake at the 

Other cases of childish hallucinations are Nos. 164. 20 and 164. 24 
(see p. 156), No. 623. 9 (see p. 181), No. 707. 1 (see p. 122), and 
No. 191. 3 (see p. 240). The last two of these are " death coinci- 

Jnjiaence of Sex on Hallucinations. 

It appears from Table I. that 7'8 per cent, of the men, and 12*0 
per cent, of the women who have answered the Census question, have 
answered in the affirmative. From this we may infer that, so far as 
our informants are representative, the number of men who experience 
sensory hallucinations and remember them is to the number of women 
who do so in the ratio of nearly 2 to 3. 

Mr. Gurney found that among 509 informants from whom he had 
received accounts of apparently subjective hallucinations of sight and 
hearing, the proportion of males to females was almost exactly 2 to 3, 
but among the 527 percipients concerned in the hallucinations of sight 
and hearing which are included as telepathic evidence in Phantasms of 
the Living, about 46 per cent, were males and only about 54 per cent, 
females. (See Phantasms of the Liviyig, Vol. II., p. 3, foot-note.) 

Our numbers are not exactly comparable to those of either of these 
two groups of Mr. Gurney's ; because (a) we do not know what was the 
proportion of men to women among the persons from whom Mr.Gurney's 
cases were drawn, and (b) our answers not only group telepathic and 
purely subjective hallucinations together, but are not limited, as his 

viil] Sex in Relation to Hallucinations. 153 

were, to visual and auditory hallucinations. We have, moreover, 
reason to believe that Mr. Gurney had not, among his purely sub- 
jective cases, any of the trivial and doubtful experiences which, as 
we have seen (Chapter III., pp. 64-66) form a not unimportant per- 
centage of ours. But the general conclusion that women are more 
subject to hallucinations than men, or remember them better, receives 
considerable confirmation from the fact that it holds in Mr. Gurney's 
more selected types as well as in our wider collection. 

In order to judge whether some kinds of hallucinations are specially 
frequent among women, we have examined certain classes in detail. 
We find that the visual hallucinations experienced by men within the 
last 10 years amount to 18 per thousand of our male informants, while 
those experienced by women are proportionately twice as numerous. 
And subdividing further, the preponderance of those seen by women is 
slightly greater among apparitions of living persons and incompletely 
developed apparitions than among apparitions of dead or unrecognised 
persons. Of 40 cases of realistic apparitions of living and dead persons 
which appear to us doubtfully hallucinatory, 13 were experienced by 
men and 27 by women. 

If, going beyond the last 10 years, we take, either the 80 cases of 
apparitions reported in the Census to coincide with the death of the 
person seen, or the 130 hallucinations of all kinds reported to coincide 
with the death of an absent friend, we find that 44 per cent, of these 
are reported by men and 56 per cent, by women, — proportions not very 
different from those found in Phantasms of the Living (see preceding 
page), — so that, relatively to other hallucinations, men report a large 
proportion of these. 

Men appear to forget their hallucinations more rapidly than women, 
at least so far as the visual hallucinations within the last 10 years are 
concerned. Within the most recent year, men report 35 visual 
hallucinations, or 4-2 per thousand, and women 52, or 6'0 per thousand. 
But for the previous year the men report 18, or only half of their 
number for the most recent year, and the women 39, or three-fourths 
of theirs ; and the average annual number from five to ten years ago is 
11 for the men and 24 for the women. 

It may be interesting to consider, in connection with the 
present section and the last, the conclusions arrived at by Mr. F. 
Galton, in his Inquiries into Human Faculty, as to the variation of 
the power of visualising in the two sexes and at different ages ; 
although, as before remarked (see p. 92), it has not been shown that 
persons who have strong visualising power are specially liable to see 
hallucinations. Mr. Galton's view is that there is no necessary con- 
nection between the vividness of dreams and the power of visualisation 
cit., p. 97); and dreams are, in some important respects, analogous 

154 Report on the Census of Hallucinations. [chap. 

to hallucinations. (See Phantasms of the Living, Vol. I., pp. 296- 
297 and 389-391). Mr. Galton says {Op. cii., p. 99) :— " The power 
of visualising is higher in the female sex than in the male, and 
is somewhat, but not much, higher in public school boys than 
in men. After maturity is reached, the further advance of age 
does not seem to dim the faculty, but rather the reverse, judging from 
numerous statements to that effect ; but advancing years are some- 
times accompanied by a growing habit of hard abstract thinking, and 
in these cases — not uncommon among those whom I have questioned — 
the faculty undoubtedly becomes impaired. There is reason to believe 
that it is very high in some young children, who seem to spend years 
of difficulty in distinguishing between the subjective and objective 
world. Language and book-learning certainly tend to dull it." The 
results were similar in the cases of two special kinds of visualisation 
investigated by him, namely, the visualised forms associated with 
numbers and dates, and the colours associated with letters — especially 
the vowel sounds — by certain persons. 

Heredity in Relation to Hallucinations. 

Our statistics are not calculated to give more than fragmentary 
information on the subject of the comparative frequency of hallucina- 
tions in different families, because in most cases we have no means of 
knowing whether our informants are related to one another or not. 
We have, however, analysed such facts bearing on this subject as 
we have been able to trace, with the following results : — 

(1) Taking three generations of linear descendants into considera- 
tion we find that in 34 families hallucinations have occurred in at 
least two generations. In two of these families, a great grandparent 
has had hallucinations as well. In three other families, both parents 
and two or more sons or daughters have had hallucinations. 

(2) In 41 families, hallucinations have been experienced by two 
brothers, or two sisters, or one brother and one sister, or sometimes by 
more than two members of the family of the same generation. In one 
family, two sisters, a father, grandfather, two uncles and two aunts 
were all subject to visual hallucinations. 

(3) In 7 cases, hallucinations have been experienced by at least two 
persons related to one another as uncles or aunts to nephews or nieces, 
or as cousins. 

(4) In 3 cases, we are told that hallucinations have been experi- 
enced by " other members of the family," whose exact relationship to 
the percipient is not stated. 

Though these numbers are not large in proportion to the whole 
number of persons included in the Census, still — considering that the 
information about relationships has only come to us accidentally — 

VIII.] Heredity in Relation to Hallucinations. 


they seem to afford some evidence that hallucinations tend to run in 

The numbers given above do not include hallucinations stated to 
have been experienced simultaneously by members of the same family. 
The following table shows the relationship to one another of the 
percipients in our first-hand cases of " collective " or joint hallucinatory 



Auditory cases. 

Parents and Children 

Brothers and Sisters 


6 Vl4 

Cousins or aunt and niece 


Husbands and Wives 



No relationship 





From this it appears that, in half the visual and in nearly half the 
auditory cases of collective hallucinations, the percipients were related 
to one another. From this large proportion of cases where the halluci- 
natory experience is shared with a member of the same family we 
may perhaps infer that the similarity of temperament existing more 
or less in most families facilitates the sharing of the impression. It is 
true that most persons are probably more often in the company of 
members of their own family than of others ; but this hardly seems a 
sufficient explanation of the result in question, since it will be observed 
that the hallucination is only shared by husbands and wives — who are 
specially likely to be in each other's company — in 10 per cent, of the 

We think that the Census also affords some evidence that halluci- 
nations running in families tend to take similar forms. It is possible 
that this may in some measure be attributable to the influence of 
heredity, but, as was before suggested (see p. 126) it may be due to 
family tradition, moulding the ideas of the percipients. A lady 
(No. 671. 20) who has constant hallucinations, which generally 
take the form of a yellow cat or black dog, tells us that the phenomenon 
is common in her mother's family. We are also told, by a collector, 
of a family, of which the members are said to see apparitions of a white 
dog, before a death in the family : several instances are mentioned, but 
the percipients refuse to give'any first-hand accounts. 

156 Report on the Census of Hallucinations. [chap. 

In the following case, a mother and daughter, at different times, 
see an apparition of a cat. 

(561. 24.) From Mrs. E. L. Kearney. 

January 17th, 1892. 

"My step-grandfather was lying ill in my father's house. I was coming 
down stairs when I saw a strange cat coming towards me along the hall. 
When it saw me, it ran behind a green baize door which separated one part 
of the hall from the other. This door was fastened open, and I went forward 
quickly to hunt the strange cat (as I thought) away, but to my utter 
astonishment there was no cat there, or anywhere else in the hall. I at 
once told my mother (and she told me the other day that she remembers 
the occurrence). My grandfather died next day. Taken in connection 
with the above, the following is interesting. My mother told me that the day 
before her father died she saw a cat walk round her father's bed ; she also 
went to hunt it out, but it was not there." 

As bearing on the general subject of heredity, we may add that Mrs. 
Kearney informed us that her maternal great-grandmother had seen 
an apparition of her husband at the time of his death by drowning. This 
she had heard from her mother. The latter was at one time interested 
in Spiritualism, and exhibited an automatic capacity for drawing flowers, 
etc., in which she had normally no ability at all. Later, circumstances 
determined her to have nothing more to do with the subject. 

The following are accounts of similar " grotesque " apparitions seen 
at different times by two sisters when young children : — 

(164.20.) FromMrs. M. H. 

(The account was written in 1889.) 

"About the year 1869, whilst lying in bed one morning (about 6.30 a.m.), 
when about 7 years old, I had a distinct impression of seeing a man dressed in 
Eastern costume, with turban, flowing robes, and yellow slippers, standing 
at the side of the foot of my bed. I covered my face with the bed-clothes, 
and then looked again, and the figure was slowly sinking down into the 
floor. As far as I know, I was in a healthy state of body and mind. I 
never saw the apparition before. My little sister and a nurse were in the 
room, but asleep at the time. This was the only time I ever had such an 
experience. My younger sister, at 4 years old, saw the same apparition, but 
did not tell me of it till after I had seen it. Her account exactly corre- 
sponded with mine. I have been since told that there was at the time, in a 
loft close to my room, a Turkish sword, brought from Sebastopol by an 
uncle of mine. Might this have something to do with the apparition ? " 

(164. 24.) From Miss E. S. 

(The account was written in 1889.) 

" When about 5 years old, I was lying awake in the dark- one night, when 
the door by the head of my bed opened, and a man in Eastern dress 
(turban and long flowing robe) came in ; he passed by me, and stood at the 

VIII.] Heredity in Relation to Hallucinations. 157 

side of my sister's bed. I have an idea that he held something in his hand, 
but whether it was a light, I do not know. I was perfectly well. The 
nurse and my elder sister [were, present]. My sister saw a man answering 
to this description about a year and a-half afterwards in the daylight. I 
never told anyone of the apparition till my sister spoke of it." 

In this case the existence of the Turkish sword, brought by an 
uncle from Sebastopol, makes it possible that Eastern dress and 
manners may have been specially interesting to the household, and 
that conversation may have suggested the form of the hallucination to 
each percipient. 

In the following case there is evidence of a similar figure being 
seen independently by percipients of three generations, which seems 
to indicate a hereditary tendency to see apparitions — though this, no 
doubt, is not a complete explanation of the phenomena as reported. ^ 

(483. 10.) From Mr. T. A. Quin. 

October 24:th, 1891. 
' ' I saw a nice gentlemanly-looking young man in evening clothes, in the 
bouse I live in, for many years, at diflferent hours of the night and day, 
and in various parts of the house. I was sometimes in bed and sometimes 
about the house, in my usual state of health, and with no grief or anxiety to 
agitate the mind ; from under thirty [upwards]. The man had been dead 
many years before I was born ; my father knew him when alive. On some 
occasions others were present, but did not see him. I saw him often. 

"T. A. Quin." 

Mrs. Quin writes : — 

" With regard to the apparition seen by Mr. Quin, my husband, I will 
write down all I have heard about it. To begin with, the house is situated on the 
town lands of ; the estate belonged to a family named F., the male mem- 
bers of which have all died out, and it has gone in the female line. The 

last survivor of the brothers, Tom, lived at House, and I have been told 

by two ladies who were acquainted with him during his lifetime and while he 
lived in the place, that he himself often saw a gentleman about the house, 
but he never saw his face. He died in London of consumption ; my 
husband's father afterwards took the house, and one night he woke up and 
saw Tom F. standing by his bedside ; he tried to wake his wife (from 
whom I heard the story) but could not succeed, and told her the next 
morning what he had seen. I am not sure if the ghost ever appeared to him 
again, but his wife's brother, who lived with him, one evening before dinner 
turned into a bedroom which had been prepared for a guest to see if it was 
aU right, and saw a gentleman either sitting or standing before the fire ; 
thinking it was the guest expected, apologised for his intrusion and left the 
room. When he went downstairs, he found my father- and mother-in-law 

1 The evidence for what is commonly called "haunting" will be discussed in 
Chapter XVI. 


Reiyort on the Census of Hallucinations. 


waiting for dinner and wondering why so-and-so was so late. ' Why,' said 
Mr. B., 'I saw him in his room just now,' and they said he must have 
been mistaken as he had not arrived at all. He persisted that he 
had seen and spoken to him, so they went upstairs and found there 
was no one in the room. After my father-in-law's death, other 
tenants took the house, and the daughter of the people who had it 
before my husband took it told me some time afterwards that none of 
their people had ever seen or heard anything there. My mother-in-law 
never saw anj'thing in the house. When my husband decided upon taking 
it, he was very anxious to know what his father had seen, but his mother 
would not tell him. At the same time she said, if he ever did see anything 
after living there, and would write and tell her what it was, she would then 
let him know what his father had seen. After being in the house a 
short time, he was in bed one night, having locked the door, a bright fire in 
the room. He suddenly saw a gentleman standing by his bedside, dressed 
in evening clothes. It was the time of the Fenian rising, and, being almost 
alone in the house, he had a loaded pistol under his pillow, which he at once 
tried to feel foi-, thinking someone had got into the house, but he saw the 
figure gradually moving towards the door, when it disappeared suddenly. 
He wrote the next day to his mother, describing exactly what he had seen, 
and she answered back it was exactly what his father had seen. He was 
only two years old when his father died, so he could have had no recollec- 
tion. He often saw the same figure afterwards, at diflferent times of the day, 
and in different parts of the house. I lived there after I was married for 
sixteen years, and never saw anything, nor had I any trouble about 
servants, though the house had always the reputation of being haunted, 
and I have been about the house all hours of the night. My eldest 
son, when he was little, slept in his crib beside my bed. [Being] subject to 
asthma, he was suffering one night, and could not sleep. At last I thought 
he had gone off, and was trying to sleep myself, but, after some time, I heard 
him awake, and spoke to him. ' I thought you were asleep, my pet 1 ' 
'No, mamma ; a man's face has been looking at me.' 'You are dreaming, 
my darling.' 'No,' he said 'and there it is again,' and he got rather 
frightened and clung to me. His father next day was asking him about 
his dream and what he saw ; he said it was a man's face, with hair on it. 
' Was it a beard ? ' ' No, only side whiskers, ' and that was the same kind of 
face he himself saw. The child was very young, and has no recollection of 
it at all, as I never reminded him about it ; nor while we were in the 
house did I allow the children to hear of the ghost, or be told about it. 
Since we left it a gentleman took it, and he said he never saw anything, 
and I hear the family who are living there now say they never have seen 

In another case (No. 563. 24.) a girl of about 18 saw an apparition 
of herself, apparently standing before a mirror. She was living at the 
time with an aunt, who had, as a girl, twice had an experience of the 
same kind, the apparition representing herself. In another case 
(No. 545. 18.) the percipient was awakened by a crash and saw a large 
ball of fire, which seemed to light up the room, at her bedroom 


Nationality and Hallucinations. 


window, on the night of her mother's death. The latter is said to 
have had a similar hallucination at the time of her husband's death by 

Nationality in Relation to Hallucinations. 

Table IX. gives what information we have been able to gather from 
the Census as to the influence of nationality on hallucinations. As 
will be seen, the great majority of the persons — nearly 16,000 out of 
17,000 — included in the Census are English, or, at least, English- 
speaking, a few Americans, as well as Australian colonists, being 
included in the English group. The next largest group is Russian, 
collected chiefly by Mr. Aksakoff, either personally or through friends ; 
the Brazilian collection is due entirely to the efforts of Professor A. 
Alexandei'. The remaining section consists of collections made in 
various countries, — Austria, Germany, France, Italy and Sweden — 
the total numbers being so small that it seemed best to group them 
together. It is probable that a few foreigners are also included in the 
English group, but the great bulk of this is certainly English. 

The relative proportions maintained within the groups are similar 
throughout. In each, a larger proportion of women than of men 
answer the Census question in the aflirmative, and in each the visual 
hallucinations are the most numerous^ and the tactile least so. Still, 
very striking difierences are seen in comparing the groups with one 
another. Taking the first three sections, ^ the Brazilian percentages of 
affirmative answers and of hallucinations are highest throughout, being, 
I'oughly speaking, between two and three times as high as the English, 
which are the lowest in every respect. The Russian percentages ai'e 
also considerably higher than the English. 

Another noteworthy feature is the large proportion among the 
foreigners, as compared with the English, of hallucinations affecting- 
more than one sense. These amount to 39 out of 160 described 
experiences, or 24-4 percent., among the Russians; 21 out of 9.3, or 
22"6 per cent., among the Brazilians; and 176 out of 1,675, or 10"5 
per cent., among the English. 

Health in Relation to Hallucinations. 

It was important to enquire to what extent the hallucinations 
included in the Census could be regarded as due to ill-health, and 
therefore one of the questions put to all percipients was, " Were you 
out of health ? " But as our desire was, not to investigate experiences 
of delirium or insanity, but to confine ourselves to hallucinations 

1 The last section is anomalous in several respects, but the number of persons 
in it is so small that we should not be justified in drawing conclusions from it. 

160 Report on the Census of Hallucinations. [chap. 

occurring to persons in a normal condition, we stated, in the instruc- 
tions to collectors on the back of Schedule A, that " the question should 
not be asked of persons who are known to have been at any time 
insane, and it is not intended to include experiences of delirium." 

Of all the hallucinations coming within the scope of the Census 
question, of which we have first-hand accounts, a certain degree of ill- 
health is reported in 146 cases. All these cases wei'e carefully con- 
sidered. Dr. Myers giving special attention to their medical aspect, so 
far as this could be judged of from the information given. 

In 23 of them, the hallucination took place in a state of illness 
when delirium is known to occur frequently, e.g., in scarlet or typhoid 
fever, or in a state of temporary injury to the brain, e.g., from a fall 
on the head. In these cases it may well be supposed to be due exclu- 
sively to a morbid physical condition ; these 23 hallucinations are 
accordingly not included in the Tables, ^ and the persons who 
experienced them are counted as having answered " no " to the Census 
question, unless they have had other hallucinations when in good 

In the remaining 123 cases,^ though morbid conditions may have 
had something to do with producing the hallucinations, it is so 
much more doubtful than in the 23 already mentioned that we have 
thought it better to retain them. Of the first-hand cases included 
in the Tables, therefore, there was a certain degree of ill-health in 
rather over 7 per cent. In 21 of them the percipient was in a state 
of convalescence after some illness,— the nature of which is not always 
specified, but which was apparently acute, — or recovering from a 
recent operation, or on the verge of a severe illness. In 55 cases the 
percipient was in a state of depressed health or minor illness — e.g., "in 
a nervous dyspeptic condition," " in a very low state of health," 
" bronchitis with weakness of heart "—the condition being one with 
which hallucinations are not supposed to be generally associated, 
though it may have rendered the patient more liable to them than a 
person in normal health would be. There remain 47 cases of still 
slighter indisposition than the above, such as being " a little below 
par, and somewhat nervous and excited," where it seems very doubt- 

1 Three second-hand cases are also excluded from the Tables on the same ground. 
Of the 23 first-hand cases, 7 are apparitions of living persons, including 2 representing 
the percipient himself ; 1 is an apparition of a dead person, and 2 of unrecognised 
persons; 3 belong to the class of "grotesque, horrible, or monstrous apparitions"; 
and, of the remainder, 6 are ^'isual hallucinations of other kinds and 4 are auditory 

" In 29 of these cases there was a certain degree of anxiety or mental distress as 
well as of ill-health. The possible effect of such emotional conditions in producing 
hallucinations is discussed in the next Chapter. 

VIII.] Health in relation to Hallucinations. 


ful whether the physical condition had any share in producing the 

In 780 first-hand cases (that is, 48 per cent.), no statement at all is 
made as to health. The assumption in these cases is that the per- 
cipient was in good health. Often it is clearly to be inferred from all 
the circumstances stated. And as the question, " "Were you out of 
health ? " was put to all the percipients, they would probably have 
a,nswered it if they had been so. Considering the extremely slight 
natui'e of many of the ailments that were mentioned, it seems that the 
tendency was rather to exaggerate than to ovei-look any possible con- 
nection that there may have been between the hallucination and the 
state of health at the time. Some persons appeared anxious to show 
that their hallucinations were due to their state of health, even if they 
could not point to any other symptom of ill-health than the hallu- 
cination itself. 

In 719 first-hand cases, that is, about 44 per cent., a positive state- 
ment is made that the percipient was in good health at the time. 

On the whole, therefore, it appears that, in the great majority of 
hallucinations included in the Census, there is no reason to think 
that the physical condition of the pei-cipients was in any way morbid. 
No symptom of disease appears, unless the hallucination itself is to be 
regarded as such, which is not the view now generally taken by the 
majority of competent observers familiar with the phenomena of 

In considering the kind of hallucinations that occur during ill- 
health, it is convenient to take the whole number, whether excluded 
from the Tables or not, into account. Dividing, according to the sense 
affected, the 146 first-hand cases in which any degree of ill-health is 
mentioned, we find that 106 are visual hallucinations, 28 auditory 
and 12 tactile. In this I'espect, therefore, the proportions are not 
markedly different from those in the whole collection. The proportion 
of realistic human apparitions (69 out of the 1 06 visual cases) is, 
however, distinctly small. And the non-realistic apparitions include 
a disproportionately large number (namely, 9), of grotesque, horrible, 
or monstrous apparitions. 

The following are two cases of hallucinations occurring during ill- 
health : — 

(112. 22.) From Mrs. Girdlestone.' 

January, 1891. 

" I felt, more than I saw, many animals (principally cats) passing by me 
and pushing me almost aside, as I went downstairs in Ijroad daylight in our 

iThe kind and degree of illness in this case was judged t,o be sufficient to e.vcludo 
it from the Tables. 


162 Report on the Census of Hallucinations. [chap. 

house at Clifton during several ]iionths in 1886 and 1887. Also often during 
same period, and even now occasionally, I saw and see frightful faces ; only 
faces, no other part of the body ; faces of no one I ever met in life, and faces 
made hideous through terrible disease. I might be walking, or reading, or 
talking. Occupation had no effect, neither time of day. In 1886 and 1887 
I suffered from overwork (mental) ; [ was always conscious that the sights 
were illusions, except for the animals pushing me, or perhaps a shadowy 
shapeless form, from which I suffer still, though quite well. [This happened] 
many times ; and, as remarked above, I still feel in bi'oad daylight as if 
someone or something pushed past me ; so much so that I invariably go 
aside to let pass whatever seems in the way, though realising almost 
immediately that there is nothing. Opiates act most quickly and peculiarly 
upon me. 1-16 of a grain of morphia given by the mouth makes me lose for 
some hours my sense of identity. Bellad<jnna plaster on the back invariably 
causes many cats to swarm around me." 

(13. 5.) From Mr. J. S. R. 

(The account was written in 1889). 

"In the summer of 1870, after very prolonged intellectual exertion, and 
want of sleep, when the strain was over, and I was in a state of exhaustion, 
I was conscious of elaborate music being played, and forms moving in and 
out of the room, of the unreality of which I was well aware. The impres- 
sions persisted for some hours, and were only removed by a deep sleep. [I 
have] only once [had such an experience]." 

It will be observed that these hallucinations are of quite a different 
character from the majority of those reported to us, being more 
complicated and dream-like. In this respect, they have some 
resemblance to the visions produced by opium, hasheesh, and other 
such drugs, which are frequently very complicated, as well as pro- 
longed {e.g., a case quoted by Professor James, Frinci'ples of Psychology, 
Vol. II., p. 121). Several hallucinations of this kind occur among 
those accompanying some degree of ill-health, but none in the rest of 
our collection. 

Some other cases of hallucinations occurring to percipients in more 
or less abnormal physical conditions are given as illustrations of other 
points, e.g., Nos. 546. 19., 49. b., and 460. 14. (see pp. 119, 142, and 
103). For another case, see A2>j)endix E. 

Number of Persons ivho have had more than one Hallucination. 

In Table III. the noteworthy fact appears that, of the persons 
included in the Census who have experienced hallucinations, only .34 
per cent., — 427 out of 1 249, — of those who give first-hand accounts have 
had more than one such experience. Table III. also shows that there 


Recurrent Hallucinations. 


is a good deal of variety in the experiences of these persons, both as to 
the kind and as to the number of their hallucinations : nearly half of 
them have only had visual hallucinations ; about a quarter have only 
had auditory hallucinations ; and a few only tactile. Nearly a quarter 
have had hallucinations, some of which affected one sense and some 
another. As to the number experienced, about half the percipients 
report themselves to have had several or many hallucinations, but do 
state the exact number ; rather more than a third of them have had 
only two hallucinations; the remainder have had numbers varying from 
tliree to six. 

When several hallucinations are experienced by the same percipient 
they are in some cases scattered throughout his whole life, or a long 
period of it, and in others, even when numerous, they are confined to a 
comparatively short period. As a specimen of the former kind 
described by an exceptionally intelligent witness, see the case of 
Mrs. D. {Appendix D), also No. 422. 22 (Mr. Mamtchitch's case in 
Chapter XVII). Instances of the latter kind are Nos. 327. 25 
(p. 196) and 488. 14 (p. 353). Again, while in most cases the 
successive hallucinations are apparently quite miscellaneous, in 
others they show a more or less marked tendency to repeat them- 
selves, the same hallucination recurring again and again. We find 
71 cases of this kind of recurrence in visual hallucinations. By 
" recurrence " we do not mean necessarily an exact reproduction, but 
that the general resemblance is enough to make the percipient regard 
the successive hallucinations as representing the same person or thing, 
or, in the case of animals, the same species of animal. Thus, in No. 
37. 13, the percipient was wakened by clothes falling off her bed, and 
saw a figure in profile, with a lilac print dress and white apron, 
standing at the other end of the room. On another occasion she 
was wakened by feeling her hand clutched, and saw a figure of a 
woman in a similar costume facing her. Here the general resemblance 
was eiiough to make the percipient regard the figures as representing 
the same pei'son. Again, in No. 280. 20, the percipient saw the face 
of his brother in a wide-awake hat look in at the door of his room in 
the evening. The same night he woke and saw the upper half of his 
brother standing by his bed, looking at him. We count both these 
cases as recurrent, in spite of the slight differences between the impi-es- 
sions on the different occasions. In most of the recurrent cases, the 
various appearances seem to have resembled one another more closely 
than in these. 

M 2 

164 Report on the Census of Halliocinations. [chap. 

The following Table shows the number and kind of these recurrent 
visual hallucinations. 

Recurrent Visual Hallucinations. 

Number of times tlie hallucina- 
tion occurred. 

Total . 





Realistic apparitions of living persons 




,, ,, dead persons 





, , , , unrecognised persons 






Incompletely developed apparitions . . . 






Other visual hallucinations 











Of the percipients included in the above Table, 28 have had other 
hallucinations of a different kind from the one which was i-epeated. 

Auditory and tactile hallucinations appear to be repeated much 
more frequently in proportion than visual hallucinations, — 146 cases 
of recurring auditory and 35 of recurring tactile hallucinations being 
reported in the Census, — but this seems to follow naturally from the 
smaller variety of form to be found in auditory and tactile cases. 

The repetition of hallucinations is — as might be expected — 
especially marked in cases occurring during ill-health. Of the 106 
visual cases reported to us in which the pei'cipient was in ill health, 16, 
or 15 percent, were recurrent. Tt should l^e said that 7 of these are 
among the 19 cases which seemed so clearly due to ill-health that we 
have excluded them from the Tables ; but recurrence is also found in 
over 10 per cent, of the remainder, whereas, of all the visual cases in- 
cluded in the Census, only 71, or 5-5 per cent., were recurrent. 

The connexion between recurrence and ill-health is less marked in 
the auditory and tactile cases. Of the 40 auditory and tactile cases 
reported to us as occurring during ill-health, 18, or 45 per cent., 
were recurrent, while of all the auditory and tactile cases included in 
the Census, 181, or 36 per cent., were recurrent. 

We have not included among recurrent visual hallucinations about 
20 cases in which a visual hallucination is repeated once or more 
within a very short period — one or two days, at most — because the 
phenomenon appears to be of a somewhat different kind from repeti- 


Recurrent Hallucinations. 


tions at longer intervals. ^ It may be regarded as a single hallucina- 
tion of more than average force and persistency, analogous to those 
very rare cases where the hallucination continues for a long time— say, 
as much as half an hour — and it would be very difficult to draw the 
line between such cases and those where an apparition is seen again 
after looking away from it, or after closing the eyes and then looking 
at it again. We have in No. 450. 18. (p. 234) a rather striking- 
instance of an intermediate kind. 

Analogous auditory cases, which must obviously be regarded as 
single hallucinations, are those where the percipient hears himself 
called two or three times in succession. 

1 We have therefore, as stated on p. 52, counted these cases each as one halluci- 
nation, unless there are some special features of difference between the different 
appearances, as in No. 280. 20, referred to on p. 163 

1G6 Report on the Censm of Hallucinations. [chap. 

Chapter IX. 


Tn the last Chapter we have been dealing with general physical 
conditions, whose influeiice on the phenomenon investigated is, for the 
most part, only statistically traceable. We now pass to consider, in 
the light furnished by our statistics, certain conditions of the mind and 
nervous system, whose connexion with hallucinations is commonly held 
to be of a more direct and important kind. The chief of these are 
anxiety, grief, and the state of overstrained nerves which — though it 
may, of course, be an effect of prolonged or intense anxiety or grief — 
may also result from mere overwork and mental fatigue, when neither 
of the before-mentioned emotions is present. We shall treat the 
three conditions separately, as far as possible: and shall begin with the 
state of nervous overstrain, since in some cases — where the overstrain 
has gone so far as to cause illness — its effects have already come under 
our notice^ in the preceding chapter. Omitting cases where definite 
or permanent ill-health has been produced, the percipient states himself 
to have been — at the time he experienced a hallucination — overworked, 
overstrained, extremely tired, in a state of overwrought nerves, or in 
some similarly described condition, in some 25 cases in the present 
collection. And, though not mentioned, it is probable that such over- 
strain existed in a certain proportion of 17 other cases where the 
percipient was in constant attendance on a friend or relative who was 
dying or very ill. In 8 of the 25 cases, a definite cause of anxiety 
is mentioned, and in 3 others, the percipient speaks of himself as 

The following is a case where the hallucination and overwork were 
clearly connected. 

(287. 1. ) From Mr. W. H. F. 

January 17 th, 1890. 
" I saw what seemed to be the end of a ladder placed against the 
lower part of my bedroom window. Slowly the head and shoulders of a man 
(ordinary workman's dress) appear until he is higli enougk to unfasten the 
window catch, an operation he immediately proceeds to try to perform. 
Place: my rooms at Oxford. Time: always between 12 and 2 a.m. Dates: 
I do not remember, but at least twice respectively in the winters 1884-5, 
1885-6, 1886-7, 1887-8, never since. [I was] lying sleepless and worried in 

1 It is to be remembered that cases in which the resulting illness is of a kind 
known to iiroduce hallucinations have been excluded from our Tables. 


Emotional Conditions. 


bed, but in perfect health in other ways, the ' worry ' due entirely to 
overwork. Age 24-29. [The man was a] perfect stranger ; actions suggestive 
simply of burglary. (N.B. I have never been in any house which has been 
burglariously entered.) The experiences [were] always exactly the same. 
[1] always regarded it simply as my sign that I was overworking. As soon 
as I could rest, the hallucination disappeared ; if I couldn't rest immediately, 
it appeared nightly." 

The following is a case in which overwork seems mainly responsible 
for the hallucination, but where its form was apparently determined 
by anxiety. 

(426. 13.) From Dr. A. H. 

November 22nd, 1891. 
"Spring of 1880. I was seated in the train at Cannon Street Station, 
when a train drew up beside mine. In the carriage wliicli stopped beside 
mine and in the seat nearest to me was seated (as I thought) my brother 
Leslie. He was the sole occupant of the carriage. I let down the window 
■of my carriage, knocked at his carriage window, and otherwise tried, without 
result, to attract the man's attention. [I was] extremely ovei'Worked ; 
[age] 24. My brother was in tlie West Indies. The last despatches sjaoke 
of yellow fever on board the ship, and other things wliich had made me 
anxious. He was not ill." 

Other cases where overstrain seems to be the probable cause of the 
hallucination, are No. 460. 14 (see p. 103) and No. 643. 22 (see p. 103). 
To these may be added one or two cases — not included in the numbers 
above given — where the percipient, being subject to hallucinations, 
finds them more frequent in periods of overstrain : and we have also, 
of course, to take account of the cases where tlie overstrain has been 
allowed to reach the point of a breakdown of health. 

Effect of Emotion in producing Hallucinations. 

We endeavoured to obtain information as to the influence of 
emotion on hallucinations by asking all percipients whether they were 
in grief or anxiety at the time of the experience that they described. 
The positive information given in answer to this question is no doubt a 
good deal coloured by subjective bias ; for percipients will vary in 
their readiness or reluctance to give such information, and some will 
exaggerate, and others underestimate, the degree in which emotional 
agitation was really present. It is therefore best not to attempt to 
decide what degree emotional disturbance ought to reach before it is 
reasonable to take it into consideration at all as a possible cause of 
hallucinations, but merely to draw such general conclusions as we 
can from the cases where emotion is mentioned, or where the 

168 Report on the Census of Hallucinations. [chap, 

circumstances seem to warrant the assumption that unusual emotion 
was present. 

Taking all hallucinations, whether of sight, hearing, or touch, of 
which we have first-hand accounts, we find that anxiety, more or less 
grave, about the illness of a relative or friend, is stated to have been 
present, or aj^pears from the evidence to have been probably present, 
in about 89 cases. ^ In 54 other cases, we find mention of anxiety, or 
worry, or serious trouble about other subjects than illness, — or at 
least not stated to have been about illness. Then there are about 49 
cases, in which the percipient appears to have been in grief, or un- 
happy (besides some, already counted, in which he states himself to 
have been in anxiety, as well as in grief) ; and if we add cases of 
depression (5) and of agitation in various forms (23), ^ we get altogether,, 
out of 1,622 hallucinations, about 220 cases in which emotional dis- 
turbance accompanied the hallucination. In 437 cases, a positive 
statement is made that no grief or anxiety existed, and there seems 
to be no reason to susjiect the presence of either in the great majority 
of the cases where no answer is made to the question about emotion, 
nor any information given bearing on the subject. 

In 42 of the 49 cases of grief, it is due to the recent death of 
friends ; so that altogether anxiety about illness, or grief abov^t death, 
was present in 131 cases of hallucinations, that is, about 8 per cent., or 
nearly ~ of the whole number of hallucinations. It seems practically 
certain that our informants have not, on the avei'a'ge, been in a state 
of anxiety about the health of their friends, or in grief for their 
recent loss, during -jV of their lives — the period required to account 
by chance alone for the number of hallucinations occurring under 
these circumstances : at first sight, therefore, it would seem clear that 
anxiety and grief did cause hallucinations. But further examination 
makes it doubtful whether this inference from the facts is legitimate. 
In 42 of the 131 cases the hallucination is stated to have occurred at 
the moment of death, or within 1 2 hours (generally very much less) of 
it, the death being unknown to the percipient, and the hallucination 
connected in some way with the decedent : and, in several other cases, 

' We say " about," because the extreme difficulty of deciding what the emotion 
amounted ti"> makes it desirable to regard the numbers we give as approximate only. 
We include, among these 89 cases, some where no anxiety is mentioned, but where we 
have reason to think that the critical nature of the illness of a friend or relative was. 
known, or may have been known. In the case of an illness of long standing and not 
known to be approaching a crisis, it is, of course, probable — unless the contrary is 
stated — that no special anxiety was felt. 

2 Some cases, in which seemingly small degrees of annoyance or agitation are 
mentioned by our informants, have been included in this number. The fact of their 
being mentioned has some tendency to show that more important degrees of emotion 
are not likely to have been passed over in silence. 

IX.] Emotional Conditions. 169 

there is an element of coincidence suggesting a possible telepathic 
explanation. In these coincidental cases, it would be begging the 
question to assume that anxiety about illness, ov grief about death, is 
the sole cause of the hallucination ; and, if we omit these cases, those 
that remain ai'e hardly sufficiently numerous to afford a clear statistical 
proof of the tendency of these emotions to produce hallucinations. 

At the same time, the general view that emotional excitement some- 
times causes hallucination is supported by an examination of ^^articular 
instances which strongly suggest a connexion between the two ; but in 
the best cases of this in our collection the emotion was different from 
those just considered. The most undeniable instance is No. 733. 18 
(see p. 141), where a boy, who had received a shock from seeing a 
corpse lying in an open coffin, afterwards saw an apparition of the 
same figure : but the connexion between emotion and hallucination is, 
at any rate, highly probable in the following cases of hallucinations 
occurring during obvious and imminent peril of death. 

(34. 7.) From Mr. A. L. 

(Tlie account was written in 1889.) 

" Wlien driving in the wilds of North Devonshire, the post-boy, in giving a 
gruel to tlie horse, took off the head collar in the road. The horse, startled, set 
off at full gallop with me in the gig, with only the reins holding to the rings 
of the collar. I said, ' Your life is sacrificed by the folly of a fool.' I heard 
a voice distinctly say, 'No, it is in the hands of God.' [I was] in strong 
health [at the time]. No [other persons were present.]" 

(453. 3) From Mr. J. L. C. 

September 2m, 1891. 
''When going from Glasgow to New York per Anchor steamer ^'■jtrcipa, 
on March 4th, 1871, we were overtaken by a severe storm, which somewhat 
alarmed all the passengers. At 10 o'clock p.m. we were startled by the 
news that the bridge had been swept away, carrying with it the captain and 
two prmcipal officers, who were lost. In the excitement, the vessel fell off 
into the trough of the sea,wlnch increased our fears. We were all gathered 
together in the cabin, the Doctor reading from the Prayer Book, as we 
thought our last hours were come . While sitting lonely and sad, thinking of 
my loved ones at home, I lifted my head to look across the cabin, and saw, 
as I thought, my motlier standing with niy little boy waiting for me at the 
sea shore. 1 I saw them very distinctly, just as I had seen them moving 

^ The collector writes : — "As I had previously heard the incident, there was no 
mention of ' sea-shore,' and 'waiting for me ' is plainly an inference, the clause being- 
doubtless innocently prompted by the hymn — 

' We are watching by the river, 

' We are waiting by the shore. ' " . , .• 

170 Report on the Census of Hallucinations. [chap. 

about before they died. My mother had died about a year befoi'e this, and 
my boy about six montlis. Coming to me in tliis hour of deep grief, it 
gave me a thrill of real joy. The vision only lasted for a few moments. 
I was then 44 years old. About 20 were in the cabin, but no one shared 
the experience ; [it] was personal to myself." 

Crises of this kind are brief and comparatively rare, so that we 
think it reasonable to conclude that the hallucination did not occur 
then by accident; and the intense emotional agitation connected with 
the crisis seems the most proljable cause. 

We may add two other cases of less violent emotion.^ 

(287. 15.) From Mrs. H. R. 

(The account was written in 1890. For another experience of the same 
percipient, see p. 201.) 

" I was in bed, unable to get any sleep. T recollected a bad dream I had 
had in the same house, and a sudden feeling of fear of the invisible made me 
pull the clothes closely round me. As I did so, I distinctly thought I heard 
a voice behind me say, ' It is of no use doing that. ' At the time I was so 
frightened that I jumped out of bed and lighted a candle. This occurred in 
July, 1883. I was not in very good health at the time." 

(424. 7.) From Mr. C. H. G. 

(Late Senior Assistant Medical Officer at ). 

February 17th, 1891. 

"Quite recently, viz., two months ago, half an hour after retiring to 
bed, 9.30 p.m., when quite awake, I heard the captain of my ship, the Elbe, 
come into the cabin and ask for the key of the medicine chest. Ujjon 
enquiry next morning, I was informed tliat no such occurrence had taken 
place. At the time I was to some extent suffering from mental worry, 
owing to an epidemic amongst my people, viz., 600 coolies. At the 
time, the captain was in his cabin on the upper deck (mine being below) 
reading. No one [was] present at the time. [I have] only once [had 
such an experience.] Two nights later, the captain had a similar ex- 
perience at about the same hour, and came out of his cabin imagining 
that I had called him." 

These cases, taken together, seem to show that emotion does to 
some extent tend to produce hallucinations. There is no reason, 
however, to think it a very fruitful source of hallucinations, and 

' In none of these cases, it will be observed, is there any expectation of seeing or 
hearing what is seen or heard. whj^re there is such expectation, even if acute 
emotion is also present, cannot be regarded as necessarily due to the emotion, since 
the expectation may itself produce the hallucination (see Chapter X). 


Repone and Abstraction. 


certainly only a ^'ery small pi'oportion of those in our collection can 
be thus accounted for. 

RejMse and Abstraction. 

There is stronger statistical ev idence tending to show that a state 
of repose is favourable to hallucinations. We find from Tables V. 
VII., and VIII., that in 38 per cent, of visual, 34 per cent, of auditory 
and 44 per cent, of tactile cases, the percipient was in bed, or (in a 
very few cases) had been sleeping in his chair or elsewhere. 
Considering what a small part of our lives we generally spend awake 
in bed, the fact that over ^ of the hallucinations occur under these 
circumstances is certainly remarkable : and the proportion that occurs 
immediately after waking — about 12 per cent, of visual hallucinations 
— is still more striking. We are inclined to attribute this result to a 
combination of causes. In the first place, it seems probable that the 
transition from sleep to complete wakefulness — and the transient 
states intermediate between sleep and waking, which probably often 
occur during the times of general wakefulness in bed — are not vei-y 
dissimilar in their characteristics to the hypnotic condition, except for 
their extreme instability. Now the hypnotic condition is well-known 
to be one in which it is very easy to induce hallucinations of all 
kinds, and in which they sometimes occur spontaneously : we liave 
observed this several times with our own subjects, and it is probably 
familiar to all investigators of hypnotism.^ It must be remembered 
that no experience occurring when the percipient does not believe that 
he was fully awake is counted in our Tables : but this is not incom- 
patible with the supposition that the hallucination may sometimes 
have begun when his state was verging on half-sleep and have roused 
him completely before it vanished. 

In some cases of hallucinations immediately after waking a some- 
what diflFerent cause has operated, — the influence of impressions from 
the dream- world of complete sleep. We have already (Chap. IV., pp. 
71-2) given two instances of this — besides a specimen of the seven cases 
excluded fi-om our Tables, in which dream-images or nightmares 
persisted into the waking state — and the following is another example. 

(724. 3.) From Mr. B. L. L. 

April 2Sth, 1892. 

[We give an abstract oi the original account, which was WTitten m 

Mr. B. L. L. was French professor at the Ecole reale of — , present age 
45. Towards the end of July, 1870, bemg at Paris, he dreamt vividly that 

1 For examples, see Mull's Htipnotlsm, English translation, pp. 177 and 178, where 
he refers to the observations of other expeiimenters besides his own. 


Report on the Census of Hallucinations. [chap. 

he went into his sister's house, and ff)und her lying dead in a coffin in the- 
drawiijg-room. He woke and told a friend with him that his sister was dead. 
At the same moment he heard ' ' une voix melodieuse et qui n'avait rien de 
commun avec nos voix terrestres : ' Ladislas cheri, Ladislas cheri, Ladislas 
cheri ! ' " (Ladislas being his Christian name). His sister died at the same 
time. He knew that she was ill, but the last two letters he had had about- 
her had said that she was convalescent. His only anxiety at the time was- 
about the approaching war with l^russia. 

We add a peculiar and interesting case of a dream impression: 
lasting into the waking state : though, as it failed to produce a sensory 
hallucination, it is not included in our Tables. 

(214. 19.) From Mrs. E. T. 

November 3rd, 1889. 
"[I was] awaked at night by my own voice, saying, 'Do not let him 
sleejj 1 ' and feeling agonised by seeing my son (who had gone out to British 
Columbia some weeks previously) lying exhausted on deep snow, a horse 
also lying near him. [I] found myself walking the room, quite awake, 
imploring some one I could not see, not to let him sleep. [I] ascertained 
some months later there had been this risk in travelling to a distant raiiche. 
[I had] had much anxiety and grief ; [age] about 49. My son (only child) 
aged about 28, was doing what is described, i.e., lying down exhausted in 
the snow, but I could not j^rove that the exact time [corresponded]. My 
husband was in the same room, but knew nothing of my experience, nor did 
I say why I called out ' don't let him sleep.' " 

Mrs. Sidgwick writes : — 

December IQth, 1891. 

"I have this afternoon seen Mrs. T. She seeuis quite clear that her 
experience was not externalised. There was no ajjpaiition in the room with 
her — nor vision that she saw with her eyes . 

' ' It happened perhaps 5 years ago. She was very anxious about her son, 
who was at the time going through dangers in crossing the Rocky Mountains 
and dangers in snow. But her vision gave her a quite definite idea of 
danger from sleepimi in the snow ; and this was not one that had occurred to 
her apart from the vision, because, as she .said, ' it was such an absurd thing 
to do.' The son had had a very arduous day's joui'ney and was utterly 
exhausted : but the smell of the interior of the Indian hut to which they 
came was more than he could stand, and he lay down outside in the snow by 
his horse, and fell asleep almost instantly. Tliey dragged him into the hut 
at once, or it might have been fatal. Mrs. T. did not note the date, nor did 
her son, so the coincidence cannot be made out. She believes, however, 
that there was one." 

Another case where the connection between the dream and the 
hallucination that followed on waking seems to be clearly made out, is 
No. 34. 20 (see p. 289). 

The exjjlanations above given, however, apply only to a portion of 
the class which we are now considei'ing, — the hallucinations that occur 


Solitude and Abstraction. 


-when the percipient is in bed. We are inclined, therefore, to think 
i}hat the mere absence of external distractions which is incident to rest 
in bed — even when the person resting is in a condition of complete and 
prolonged wakefulness — is in itself favourable to hallucinations. This 
supposition seems to be supported by the fact that hallucinations occur 
more in solitude than in company, as the following Table shows. 

Visual Hallucinations. 
Analysed according to the condition of the percipient in respect of solitude. 


Otlier peisons 




in bed ... 





uj) and indoors 





out of doors ... 









Totals ... 





From this it appears that 62 per cent, of the visual hallucinations 
occurred when the percipient was alone or practically alone. 

It seems to us possible that the practice of crystal gazing may 
partly facilitate hallucinations by producing a state of quiescence 
and abstraction : and that the gazer may even sometimes j^ass into a 
semi-hypnotic condition through keeping the eyes fixed on the same 
spot. Mr. Keulemans describes a condition of this kind as resulting 
from the concentration of his attention on one spot, during the process 
of drawing the eye of a bird (.see Proceedings S.P.R., Vol. VIII., 
pp. 517-519) ; and the experience of one of our jaercipients. No. 323. 22, 
— who, when being photographed (and therefore with her eyes fixed) 
"saw the bust and head of some one appeal', who looked like a 
musician " — is perhaps of the same kind. But, as was said in Chapter 
V. (p. 109), the 17 cases in our collection of apparitions seen in 
reflecting surfaces rather suggest that the crystal assists in the 
formation of hallucinations by providing convenient points de rei)ere. 

In the first column we }iave included cases where it seems pi-obable from tlie 
circumstances mentioned that the percipient was alone, though he does not explicitly 
state it, and also oases where any other persons present in the room were asleep. 

174 Report on the Census of Hallucinations. [chap. 

Chapter X. 


In a variety of cases included in our returns, the expectation of a 
certain sense-perception seems to have caused or facilitated the pro- 
duction of a hallucinatory percept of the kind expected. 

Thus there are in the Census 14 cases (13 of which were -visual 
and one auditory), of phantasms of persons for whose arrival the- 
percipient was at the moment looking out. The correspondence 
in these cases of what was seen or heard with the subject occupy- 
ing the percipient's thoughts seems so clear that we can hardly 
avoid the conclusion that there was a causal connection between the 
state of expectancy and the hallucination. 

The following is an instance : — 

(690. 1.) From Mrs. T. E. 

(The account of Mrs. E.'s experiences, some others of wliicli are quoted 
below, pp. 186 and 333, was written by the collector, Mr. D. Eraser Harris, 
in April, 1890, and signed by Mrs. E.) 

" This happened in 1870, when Mrs. E. was aged 40. She was sitting in 
the drawing-room of a hotel overlooking a park, and was waiting for her 
husband to take her down to dinner. The drawing-room door was open, 
and from her seat Mrs. E. had a view of part of the staircase and the inter- 
vening hall or passage. He delayed coming, so Mrs. E. ever and anon kept 
glancing towards the door and out into the hall beyond. At last one time 
she imagined she saw him turn a bend in the staircase and come slowly along 
the corridor. Keeping her eyes fixed all the time on what she thought was 
her husband approaching her with a well-known smile, Mrs. E. rose and 
crossed the room till she stood, as she thought, opposite her husband, when 
the spectre vanished from before her eyes. She was in good health at this 
time. In about half-an-hour afterwards, her husband, detained unavoidably, 
did veritably come into the room." 

Another kind of expectation, of which we have two instances in the 
Census, occurs when a prediction is made through some automatic 
means at a spiritualistic seance that the alleged " controlling " spirit 
will appear to one of the sitters as a test of identity. One of these 
cases, in which information unknown to the percipient and afterwards 
verified was given at the seances, was published in Proceedings S.'P.Fv., 
Vol. VI., p. 351, and we give here an abstract of the percipient's 
account in the other case. 


Expectancy and Suggestion. 


(536. 25.) From Miss E. K. B. 

(Miss B.'s account was written on August 21st, 1889.) 

On November 27th, 1887, while staying near Melbourne, Australia, Miss 
B. made the acquaintance of a lady. Miss L. T., who had the capacity of 
planchette writing. A communication written through her, and signed by 
the name of a well-known authoress, " M. N.," stated that " before another 
year had rolled away, some gift of spiritual power would come to " Miss B. 
Miss B. afterwards went to Otago, and on the evening of December 31st, 
1887, was persuaded by the friends with whom she was staying to try 
experiments in table-tilting. Miss B., remembering the prediction made 
through Miss T.'s planchette, wished to enquire further about it, and the 
tilts indicating that " M. N." was present, she asked when the " gift " would 
come to her and what form it would take. The tilts replied that " M. N." 
would be able to make herself visible to Miss B. the same night. This 
occurred at 10 p.m. Miss B. states tliat she was not at all imj^ressed by the 
incident and went to bed and to sleep without thinking about it. In the 
middle of the night, she woke suddenly and completely, with a curious 
feeling of what she desci-ibes as " inward shivering" ; the room was quite 
dark, and she saw a tall white female figure .slowly rising between the wall 
and her bed with its arms stretching out towards her. She turned away 
from it and saw it again after turning back ; it then seemed to disappear 
slowly into the floor. After a few minutes, she looked at her watch and 
found it was 2.25 a.m. In the morning she told her host, who confirms 
her account. 

Six weeks later. Miss B. heard from Miss L. T. that she had been 
planchette-writing with a friend at Melbourne on the evening of December 
31st, 1887. "M. N." had communicated, but at 12.30 had said that she 
"must go to" Miss B. This time at Melbourne corresponds to about 
2.15 a.m. at Otago, the time when Miss B. saw the apparition. 

Miss L. T. writes on July 7th, 1889, giving an account of her planchette- 
m-iting on the evening in question, and confirming Miss B.'s statements. 

Expectancy, of course, cannot account for Miss B.'s seeing the 
apparition just at the time when the statement that " M. N." would 
go to her was written by the planchette ; but, in any case, it may be 
regarded as having facilitated the hallucination. 

In the following case (received from Brazil) there was a general 
expectation of seeing something, though there had been no suggestion 
that it would be seen at any particular time. 

(73U. 18.) From Mr. J. K. 

March IStli, 1892. 

"I saw the form of a man dressed in a cap and blouse like those worn by 
French workmen. He entered my bedroom with a peculiar gait, more like 
dancing than walking. I heard him say, ' You wanted to know me. Here 
I am.' He came right up to the bed, and I could not help uttering a nervous 
cry. 'If you are afraid,' said the man, 'I will go,' and he immediately dis- 
appeared. I am not quite sure of the date, but it must have been in '82 or 

176 Report on the Census of Hallucinations. [chap. 

thereabouts. It was past midnight. I was lying in bed smoking a cigai'ette. 
I am in the habit of smf)king when I wake up at night. Health good. I was 
feeling a little anxiety about the nervous state [into] which my wife had then 
fallen, and which I attributed to adverse spirit influence. My age in '82 was 
33. I had challenged the supposed influence some hours before to come to 
me, and I believe that it was in answer to this challenge that the form 

" I was once reading aloud at a sitting when I saw a man leaning on the 
table by my side, who interrupted my reading with the remark, 'I don't 
understand.' On looking round, I found he had disappeared, nor did any of 
the others observe a person sitting in the place where I saw him. At another 
sitting, I was rising from my chair, when a heavy hand was laid upon my 
shoulder and forced me down again. Yet there was "nobody behind me." 

It is possible that habitual attendance at spiritualistic seances may 
lead in sone persons to the seeing of apparitions and hearing of voices. 
In one case, (No. 383. 1) the percipient, a working-man, reports several 
hallucinations, bnth visual and auditory, occurring in the course of a few 
months, and the collector — himself a spiritualist — suggests that this 
may be the effect of the seances which he was accustomed to attend 
at that time. 

Suggestions by ivord or gesture from the other persons present. 

An obvious cause of the expectation of a percept is suggestion, 
in some form, from another person : and the question whether halluci- 
nations can be induced in persons in a normal waking condition by 
such suggestion is especially important in connection with the evidence 
for sliared or collective hallucinations ; since there are not many cases 
of collective hallucinations recorded in which it is quite certain 
that suggestion by word or gesture from one percipient to the other 
was excluded. But if this suggestion was the sole cause of the 
sharing of the hallucination in these cases, we should expect to find 
other cases where one person who is not experiencing a hallucination 
produces one by verbal suggestion in some one else. 

Now it is well known that hallucinations may be produced in this 
way in hypnotised persons by suggestions given in the hypnotic state : 
and according to Bernheim (Be la Suggestion, Chap. V.) they can 
sometimes be produced in persons " hypnotisable, but in no way 
hysterical," even when they are in the normal condition, provided that 
they have previously been hypnotised. We have heard, moreover, on 
good authority, of an experimental case in which the effect was 
brought about in a person not previously hypnotised and in a com- 
pletely normal state, by verbal suggestion of an insistent and emphatic 
kind : but we are not aware that any such case has been cai'efully 


Expectancy and Suggestion. 


observed and recorded. And certainly no case clearly of this kind 

is included in our Census ; but in the two following, the collective 

nature of the experience is somewhat doubtful, and it seems, for 

different reasons, specially likely that the hallucination was caused in 

the percipient who .describes it through verbal suggestion from her 


(237. 13.) From Mrs. S. 

January 3rrl, 1890. 
"I once fancied, or really saw, the shape of a woman by my bed. 
When about 16 years old, and sleeping with a lady some years older than 
myself, she awakened me suddenly, asking if I saw anything, and I 
believed at the time that I saw a tall, grey figure, near the foot of the bed, 
on the side farthest from me, but it did not make any serious impression 
on me." 

Here the transition from sleep to waking is, as we have seen, a 
condition favourable to hallucinations : and though the elder lady 
must be taken to have seen something, there is no reason to suppose 
that it was a tall grey figure. 

(536. 2.) From Miss .J. S. 

Augtist 9th, 1891. 

"In the year 1883, I was studying music, and used to practise alone fre- 
quently in the evening. Towards the autumn of that year, on one occasion, 
I felt some one touch me, and on looking round I saw the figure of a gentle- 
man whom I knew. He was dressed in black clothes, with the collar of his 
coat buttoned closely round his neck, showing no white cullar. As I looked 
he faded away. This occurred on three different occasions. I was in perfect 
health at the time, and in no trouble or anxiety ; of full age. I had not 
seen the gentleman himself for about two years before that occurrence, and 
have no idea what he was doing at the time. The two first occasions 
were exactly alike. On the last occasion, a young girl was playing a duet 
with me. She suddenly shuddered and said, ' I felt some one touch me.' I 
also felt as if a hand touched my shoulder, and on looking round saw the 
same gentleman." 

In this case the other witness, on being applied to for confirma- 
tion of her share in the experience, said that she did not remember 
anything about it. But even if Miss S.'s recollection is accurate, the 
sudden verbal suggestion, assisted by the traces of the two previous 
experiences, is probably sufl&cient to account for the phenomenon on 
the third occasion. 

The possible efficacy of verbal suggestion in cases of collective 
hallucinations will be considered further when we come to deal with 
these cases. (See Chapter XV.) 


178 Report jon the Census of Hallucinations. [chap. 

Effect of Noises in Producing Hallucinations. 

It appears in some cases that it is possible for a noise to induce visual 
hallucinations by creating in the hearer a strong expectation of seeing 
something corresponding to it or that may account for it. Dr. Moll 
gives a curious instance of a hypnotic subject of his, who when hypno- 
tised was once much alarmed by a hallucination of a mad dog attacliing 
him ; Dr. Moll observed that this recurred whenever one of the persons 
present creaked his boots. {Hyjjnotism : English translation, p. 178.) 
He gives some further instances of visual hallucinations in hypnotised 
persons following on some slight stimulus of the other senses ; e.g., 
blowing with a bellows caused a hallucination of a train and I'ailway 
station {Op. cit., p. 196). But in the hypnotic condition, suggestibility 
to hallucinations is of course very much greater than in ordinary 
waking life; and the cases just quoted are perhaps comparable to the 
instances described by more than one psychologist, ^ of dreams pro- 
duced experimentally, e.g., by slight tactile stimuli, rather than to 
sensory hallucinations of persons in a normal waking condition. The 
following, however, is a transitional case — between dreaming and 
waking — in which the visual percept seems to be clearly dependent on 
a real sound heard at the time or just before. It is quoted from 
Pltantctsms of the Living, (Vol. I., p. 474, foot-note). The percipient 
writes : — 

" Between sleeping and waking this morning, I perceived a dog running 
about in a field (an ideal white and tan sporting dog), and the next moment 
I heard a dog barking outside the window. Keeping my closed eyes on the 
vision, I found that it came and went with the barking of the dog outside; 
getting fainter, however, each time." 

With this may be compared the following case from Dr. G. J. 
Stoney's paper, On tlt,e Limits of Visioyi, another extract from which 
is quoted in Chapter VII., p. 141. 

" Some years ago, a friend and I rode — he on a bicycle, I on a tricycle — on 
an unusually dark night in summer from Glendalough to Rathdrum. It was 
drizzling rain, we had no lamps, and the road was overshadowed by trees on 
both sides, between which we could just see the sky-line. I was riding 
slowly and carefully some ten or twenty yards in advance, guiding myself by 
the sky-line, when my machine chanced to pass over a piece of tin or .some- 
thing else in the road that made a great crasli. Presently my companion 
came up, calling to me in great concern. He had seen through the gloom my 
machine upset and me flung from it. The crash had excited the thought of 
the most likely cause for it, and this involved a visual percex^tion in the mind, 

1 See especially Maury, Le Sommeil ct les Bercs, p. 132, etc. 
- See The Philosophical Magazine, March 1894. 


Expectancy and Suggestion. 


faint, but sufficient on this occasion to be seen with distinctness when not 
overpowered by objects seen in the ordinary way through the eyes." 

In the following case the form, at least, of the hallucination seems 
to have been suggested by the barking of the dog, though the coinci- 
dence with the death points to the operation at tlie same time of a 
supernormal cause. 

(562. 3.) From Miss Wharton. 

" 12, Addison- terrace, Notting Hill, VV., December Uh, 1891. 

"I heard the voice of a friend saying to my brother-in-law, 'Please 
silence your dog. ' Nero, our dog, was, in fact, barking immediately before 
I heard the words. Place : 15, Royal- crescent. Netting Hill. Date and 
time : April, 1882, 5 a.m. I was in bed, awakened by the dog barking. 
Not in any grief or anxiety. Age 40. 

"I recognised the voice distinctly as that of a friend who was lying 
ill of pneumonia in Cambridge-gardens. My brother-in-law called next 
morning, according to his daily practice, to inquire after the patient, and 
ascertained that he had died in the early morning —about 3 a.m.^ 

" No one else was awake or heard the voice. 

"Emma Whartox." 

In answer to a question put to her by the collector, Mr. E. L. Kearney, 
Miss Wharton writes : — 

" I mentioned my experience to [my sister], Mrs. A., at breakfast, and 
she has some recollection of my telling her what I have recently written 
down for you on Form B, but her memory of it is not sufficiently vivid to 
warrant her in formally attesting it. The news of the death did not reach 
me until Mr. A. returned home in the evening." 

Mrs. A. adds : — " The above correctly explains what was told me of the 
afifair."— E. S. A. 

The friend's name was given to us in confidence. Miss Wharton says, 
■" He was a very intimate friend of Mr. and Mrs. A. and myself." 

Fro7n the Register we find that the death took place on April 6th, 1881, 
not 1882, as stated above. 

In an interview with Miss Wharton on January 29th, 1891, Mr. Myers 
learnt that the experience narrated was the only hallucination she had ever 

The explanation that the hallucination was produced by a sound 
seems also to be rightly applied by the percipient in the following case. 

(653. 5) - From Miss. E. J. 

Fehrnary 17th, 1891. 
" The most distinct hallucination that I remember was one which occurred 
to me one day in January 1891. I heard a friend (whose footstep I 

1 The importance of the coincidence is of course reduced by the percipient's 
knowledge that her friend was seriously ill. 

N 2 

180 Report on the Census of Hallucinations. [chap. 

recognised) coming into this house, cross the hall just outside the room in 
which I was standing, and go ujistairs. At the same time that I distinctly 
heard her going upstaii's after having crossed the hall, I saw her in the room 
where I was. The room opens into the hall. I only saw her fi)r a second or 
two ; and she had n(jt on her hat and jacket as she would naturally have had 
coming in from a walk, but was dressed as .she usually is in the house. The 
appearance vanished almost at once. I was startled by it, and when my 
friend came down I told lier what I had seen, explaining that it must have 
been the s(;und of her step outside which caused the appearance. I had 
also just come in from a walk, and was talking to other people in the 
sitting-room. I was not out of health nor in anxiety of any kind. Age 27. 
I was living in the house with the lady I mentioned. She certainly came into 
the house at the time at wliicli I heard her, but went straight upstairs and did 
not come into the sitting-room." 

Besides the case just (juoted, there are a lai-ge number of cases in 
which a visual hallucination seems to have been preceded by a noise. 
In most of these cases, however, the noise is regarded as hallucinatory 
by the percipient, so that they are classed in Table II. as bisensory 
hallucinations, " visual and auditory (non-vocal)." But in the 
majority of them, the hallucinatory chai'acter of the sounds seems to 
have been merely inferred from the fact that they were unexplained, 
or from their association with visual hallucinations. Now, it is 
obviously difficult — or in many cases impossible — to ascertain of what 
nature these sounds were ; and we think it probable that in many cases 
they may have been real sounds, due to unexplained physical causes. 
For we hnd that when sounds of this kind are heard, — e.g., in houses 
reputed to be "haunted," — they are most frequently heard by every 
one in the house, or in the part of the house that is associated 
with theni. Further, the assumption of their physical reality is not 
necessarily inconsistent with our systematised experiences of matter. 
An apparition which disappears in a clear space while being looked 
at, or passes through a closed door, is inexplicable as a part of the 
ordinary external world ; but it is otherwise with these sounds. 
They may be unexplained, but they cannot be regarded as strictly 
inexplicable. Another characteristic of them is that they recur very 
frequently, to a degree that is extremely rare among hallucinations 
that can be proved to be such. 

These considerations apply with special force to cases where non- 
vocal sounds alone are heard, no sights, or other more definite 
impressions, being associated with them. The uiicertainty with regai d 
to the nature of the sounds is then so great that we did not include in 
our statistical enquiry alleged hallucinations of this kind ; l)ut the 
uncertainty remains in some cases when the sounds accompany — and 
especially when they precede — visual impressions that are undoubtedly 
hallucinatory. There are 71 cases (see Table I) in our collection where 


Expectancy and Stifjgestion. 


a non-vocal sound is heard accompanied by a visual hallucination, and 
in 56 of these the sound pi'ecedes the apparition. It seems to us not 
improbable that in many of these latter cases the sound was real and 
produced in the hearer a state of expectant attention which led to 
the visual hallucination. Instances of such cases are No. 68. 25 
(see p. 120) and the following. 

(623. 9.) From Mr. H. F. 

April, 1892. 

" I was, so far as I remember, nine years of age [i.e. in 1874]. I had just 
gone to bed, and was — at least this was my impression at the time — quite 
awake. The door of my room was ajar, and there was a light in the passage, 
which half illumined my room. Suddenly, I became aware of a series of 
slight taps on the passage outside. These taps were not sufficiently loud for 
a human footstep : on the other hand, the volume of their sound was greater 
than that made by a walking stick. I fully remember sitting up in bed and 
beholding two tojj boots trot rapidly across the room and vanish into tlie 
opposite wall. The illusion was astonishingly vivid and I can recall the 
details to this day. I have never had a waking dream since, nor have I ever 
experienced ambulant top boots except on this occasion." 

Another case where it seems especially probable both that the 
sound heard was a real sound, and that the hearing of it was the 
occasion of the visual hallucination that followed, is No. 733. 18 
(see p. 141), where a previous agitation had clearly predisposed the 
percipient to that particular hallucination. See also No. 284. 23 
(p. 73), where the sound of the "bang" was followed by the sight which 
the percipient was accustomed to associate with it. 

In other cases, a non-vocal noise, such as that of footsteps, leads up 
to a tactile hallucination (3 cases) or to the hearing of a voice (5 cases). 

In consideiing how far the reality of the sounds may be inferred 
from their being genei-ally audiljle to every one within ear-shot of 
them, we have examined the 56 cases where a non-vocal sound pre- 
ceded an apparition. We find that other persons were present in 19 
cases : that in 5 cases, all those who were present both heard and 
saw the same ; that in 6 cases, the other persons had no share in the 
impression ; but that in the other 8 cases, the sounds were heard by 
one or more persons who did not share in the visual percept. In- 
stances of this last kind are Mrs. Hall's case. No. 656. 26 (see 
chap. XVII.), and the following. 

(319. 1.) From Miss C. E. 

Jvly ith, 1890. 

"On January 11th, 1883, between 6 and 7 p.m., I was in the breakfast- 
room of my home, when I heard my father insert his latch-key in the front 
door, open the door and knock his stick on the tiles in the hall, but did not 

182 Report on the Census of Hallucinations. [chap. 

hear him come up the hall. At the same time I saw liis dog, a small Scotch 
terrier, pass the breakfast-room door, as though he had returned with my 
father. He did not go into the dining-room, but toward the mat at the foot 
of the stairs. I was standing by the table with my face toward the open 
door, glancing into a book ; when I heard my father's key, I put down the 
book and tlius saw tiie dog. Living with my father, I saw both him and the 
dog cojistantly. It was his habit to go for a walk about that hour, but on 
that day both he and the dog were dozing before the dining-room fire. The 
dining-room door was opposite that of the breakfast-room, but was fast shut. 
I was alone, but an elder sister and a woman who sewed for her were in the 
liall and heard my father open the front door. They made no mention of 
the dog, but were emphatic as to my father having entered the liouse. I have 
another sister who remembers my elder sister, the woman, and myself all re- 
lating the incident to her the moment it occurred. 

" I ought to mention that directly my elder sister was told that my father 
had not entered the front door as she supposed, she hurried into the dining- 
room to convince herself that he was tliere ; and told him what had occurred. 
He declared he had not left the room all [the] afternoon, and the dog had 
been with him." 

Miss. E.'s sister writes : 

December Ibth, 1890. 
In corroboration of my sister Miss C. E.'s statement, I remember the 
sewing woman and both my sisters telling me at the time, that ray father 
had entered at the front door, when at that moment he was asleep in the 

" H. G. E." 

Later she adds : — 

" I remember my sister C. telling me at the time she saw the dog cross 
the hall." 

Mr. Podmore writes : — 

March ^Isi, 1892. 

"I called on Miss C. E. and Miss H. G. E. to day. 

" Miss. C. E. explained that she distinctly heard the 'fuss' of opening 
the front door, {i.e. key in latchlock, etc.), and then tap of stick, and tiny 
patter of dog's nails on tiled floor. Then she saw the dog pass her 
in the hall — a yellow Scotch tenier — quite unmistakal:)le in the full light of 
the gas. Miss C. E. then went into the hall, and presently joined her 
two sisters Miss H. G. E. and Miss E. in the pantry with the work- 
woman referred to. She there learnt that Miss E. had just had a 
glass of beer brought to the workwoman in the hall. Mr. E. much 
disliked anything being drunk in the hall, and probably the infringement of 
the rule of the house made Miss E. a little apprehensive of her 
father's return. Anyway, both she and the workwoman said that they 
heard his key in the latch and had run straightway into the pantiy, meeting 
Miss H. G. E. on the way. Miss H. G. E. gave tlie fullest corroboration. 
She remembered to have heard of the incident from both her sisters and 
from the woman (now dead I gathered). Miss H. G. E. was of opinion tliat 
Miss E. saw nothing, and Miss C. E. was inclined to agree with her. 


Expectancy and Suggestion. 


" It should be added that both sisters were of opinion that there was no 
real sound to start the hallucination, but the house fronted on a public 
square, and it is clear that it would be very difficult to exclude the possibility 
of real sounds. 

"Miss C. E. was about 23 at the time. She has had no other 
hallucinations " 

Before leaving this subject, it may be worth wliile to remark that 
the spontaneous association of visual images with real sounds which 
occurs with some persons — such as the " number-forms " described Ijy 
Mr. Galton and the phenomena of " coloured audition " — sometimes 
seems to assume a hallucinatory form. The following is an instance 
which appeared originally in Nature of March 6 th, 1890. The account 
there given, which was written in May, 1889, has since been revised, 
with a few additions, by the percipient, Miss G., whose later account 
we quote. She writes : — 

April 12th, 1891. 

"The sound of an oboe brings before me a white pyramid or obelisk, 
running into a sliarp point ; the point becoming more acute if the note is 
acute, blunt if it is grave. The obelisk apjjears to be sharply defined and 
solid if the note is loud, and vague and vaporous if it is faint. All the notes 
of the 'cello, the high notes of the bassoon, trumijet, and trombcjne, and the 
low notes of clarionet and viola, make me see a tiat undulating ribbon of 
strong white fibres. The tone of the horn brings before me a succession of 
white circles of regularly gradated sizes, overlapping one another. The 
greater the intensity of the sound, the larger and more distinct the circles. 
These circles and the ribbon float past me horizontally, but the point of the 
obelisk seems to come at me. 

' ' In an orchestra, when tlie violins strike up, after the wind band has 
been prominent for a time, I see often but not always, a shower of bright 
white dust or sand, very crisp and glittering. I am taking note of the recur- 
rence of this impression, and think it is becoming more frequent, but it is 
not invariable like the others. [It is mucli more frequent now, 1891.] 

"I have heard a great deal of orchestral music all my life, but I have 
only noticed these effects for six or seven years. They gained gradually in 
frequency and clearness, and now the first three are invariable. 

"If I know the scoring of a piece well, the various effects slighlly prucede 
the sound of the instrument tliey belong to ; only the objects are vague and 
faint till the sound begins. Sometimes, if an oboe passage has an intense 
and yearning character, the white point comes so near me, and moves so 
rapidly, that I think it mud wound me. 

"I am very anxious to make it clear that I am not trying to describe a 
mental state by symbols, but that I actnully see the point, the fibres, and the 
circles. Generally they float half-way between me and the orchestra. They 
give me great pleasure. If only one class of instruments is used, the effect 
does not extend beyond the opening bars : for instance, in a string quartette 
I only see tlie white sand for a moment at the beginning ; if, however, wind 
and stringed instruments are combined, I see tlie vaiious effects again and 
again in one piece. Lately (1891), the horn notes affect me so strongly that 

184 Report on the Census of Hallucinations. [chap. 

instead of seeing a string or necklace of circles the air is full of them, like 
flakes in a snow-storm, and I have a swimming, giddy sensation. 
" I am quite healthy and have always been so. I am SGj." 

Other Slight Impressions leadiny to Hallucinations. 

The seeing of an apparition is sometimes preceded by slight or 
inde6nite impressions, other than sounds, which often produce in the 
percipient an expectation of seeing something and by this means, 
perhaps, produce the hallucination. There is the same difficulty of 
determining whether these impressions are real or hallucinatory that 
we have found in the case of sounds. ^ The following is an instance 
where it seems very probable that the sensation described was produced 
by real movements. 

(726. 18.) From Mr. F. B. 

October Zlst, 1891. 

" When a boy I sometimes saw forms in the dark. In the province of C, 
of which I am a native, we sleep in hammocks. I felt the hammock quiver, 
and on looking would see a form standing by (jr passing under it. I attached 
no importance to this at the time. This [occurred] in C.,<ine of the Northern 
Provinces of Brazil. I ceased to see them some 24 or 25 years ago I was 
in good health and spirits. I was subject to these visions, to the best 
of my recollection, between my eighth and fourteenth or fifteenth year." 

In about 14 cases, the seeing of an apparition is preceded by the 
apparent opening of a door, through which the figure seems to walk 
into the room. Here again, it is possible that the apparent movement 
may occasionally be a real one, due to some ordinary cause, and that 
the sudden expectancy which it produces may lead to the seeing of the 
apparition. (See Miss E. L, T.'s case, No. 264. 23, Chap. XVI.). An 
indication of the efficacy of such a cause is to be found in an expression 
used in an account quoted in Chapter IV. (pp. 76, 77). The percipient, 
who frequently experienced the hallucinations described, says, " Often 
when a door is opened, they rush in, like messengers in haste." It 
would of course he a proof of the reality of such a movement if the 
oljject moved were found finally in a different place from where it was 
at first — if the opened door i-emained open. In most cases, however, 
the door appears to open and shut again, and then the most probable 
interpretation would generally seem to be that the whole movement 
is part of the hallucination : though in Miss E. L. T.'s case, just 

1 In the discussion of the "sense of presence" in Chapter IV. (p. 85), it was 
suggested that some impressions of this kind may be initiated by slight sounds or 
movements of the air, etc. half consciously or unconsciously perceived ; but we have 
no positive ground for attributing the phenomenon to such a cause in any of the 
20 cases in the Census where the " sense of presence " precedes a fully externalised 

X.] Expectancy and Suggestion. 185 

referred to, the fact that the opening and slmtting appear to have been 
seen by two persons I'enders it probable that the movement was real. 

Other comparatively slight impressions leading up to more definite 
ones are when a tovichis felt, preceding a visual hallucination (17 cases), 
or the hearing of a voice (7 cases). The following is an instance. 

(437. 19.) From Miss L. W. 

Juhj 7th, 1891. 

" I felt a touch as uf a hand laid on my shoulder, and, on looking up, 
saw a girl whom I had not seen, and of whom I had not heard, for about 
two years. Place : at my own home. Hour : about 4.30 p.m. [I was] 
occupied in shading a drawing ; was m perfect health, with nu grief or 
anxiety ; age 20. [I] was not in the habit of seeing the girl [and] do not 
know what she was doing at the time. Two other persons were in the room, 
but they did not share the experience." 

In answer to questions, Miss W. adds : — 

"The incident occurred about a year ago last March or April. As far as 
I know, the girl was at that time in Nottingham, but as I do not know her 
address, I am not able to find out anything about her. The figuie only 
remained about a second after I first saw it, and I do not remeud)er in what 
way it disappeared. I saw it very clearly." 

It is possible that the feeling of touch in this case was a muscular 
sensation misinterpreted. See Chap. V. , p. 111. 

An additional reason for regarding the hallucinatory nature of the 
initial part of the impression, in the cases discussed above, as doul)tful, 
is that in a large proportion of them (at least 35 out of 124) the 
percipient is awakened — e.g., by the sound or the touch — and then sees 
the apparition. This makes it doubtful, on the one hand, whether 
the sound or touch was not a dream-impression, and, on the other 
hand, whether it was not real ; since there is a special difficulty in dis- 
tinguishing between true and false impressions at the moment of 
waking. Several other cases of the visual hallucinations that occur 
on waking are preceded by moi'e indefinite sensations, described in 
such terms as the following: — "woke with a disagreeable sensation"; 
" woke with weight on chest"; "wakened by warm wind"; "woke 
with feeling that scalding water had been thrown over her"; "woke 
with uncanny feeling"; " wakened by some one" or " by something." 
Here again it is proljable that some of these sensations were produced 
by a physical stimulus of a normal kind. 

The Ojjeration of Suggestion in the ivorking out of Hallucinations. 

The operation of suggestion may further be traced in the develop- 
ment of a hallucination after it has once started — one percept leading 
on to the next by the working out of the idea involved. For instance, 

186 Report on the Census of Hallucinations. [chap. 

this explanation appears to be applicable to the reflection of apparitions 
in mirrors, — an effect which MM. Binet and Fere were able to reproduce 
experimentally in visual hallucinations suggested to their hypnotic 
subjects. In view of these experimental results, we cannot regard this 
phenomenon as affording evidence that the hallucination is more than 
purely subjective in such cases as the following : — 

(690. 1) ■ From Mrs. T. E. 

(The account was written in April 1890.) 

"It was on an evening in June, 1847, when Mrs. E. Avas 20 years of age, 
that she had this vision. The liouse she was living in was one reported to 
be ' haunted, ' and Mrs. E. and her husband were only tenants in it for a 
year. No tenant would remain in it for a longer time. Mrs. E. was in 
perfectly good health, and on the evening in question was sitting alone upon 
the piazza of the house of:' which opened the drawing-room, into which [she] 
had an uninterrupted view. The house was empty, the servants were away 
frnm tlie back premises, and the nurse had taken the only child out to play ; 
all the back doors were locked. Mrs. E. was watching a number of children 
playing some distance off, and was certainly not thinking of anything relating 
to apparitions, or anything extraordinary, when, quite suddenly, and some- 
what towards the left of the seat, a female figure aj^peared, and strode across 
the drawing room in an oblique direction, but always keeping its face turned 
away from Mrs. E.. The outline was very clearly delineated, the dress 
Mrs. E. remembers yet, it was so distinct ; and so vivid was the appearance, 
that, on casting her eyes on the mirror on the drawing-room wall a little 
towards [her] right hand, she saw the side or profile of the figure reflected 
there. So exceedingly real did this latter circumstance make it, that 
Mrs. E., being certain there was a woman in her drawing-room, rose and 
rushed into the room, saying — ' I wonder how yoti, got in, indeed ! ' only to 
find nothing out of the common there. Mrs. E. said she had heard no 
details or descriptions of the alleged ' haunting,' and so her mind could not 
have been pre-adjusted to see any one kind of apparition more than 
another. She liad never let the fact of the house being ' haunted ' rest 
with or distress her, and on this evening was not thinking of anything 
except those children playing in the front of the house." ^ 

This is the only case in the Census in which the apparition is seen 
hrst and its reflection afterwards ; but there are three cases in which 
the tigure is first seen in a mirror, and afterwards appears to be 
standing in the room, and the double impression in these cases seems 
equally explicable as the effect of suggestion, — as whichever appearance 
is seen first, might naturally lead to the second corresponding percept. 
The following is one of the three cases referred to. 

1 For another experience of the same percipient, see p. 174. 



Expectancy and Suggestion, 


(208. 7.) 

From Mrs. T. 

[The account was written down from the lips of the percipient by the 
collector, in August, 1889.] 

" My grandmother was ill in her bed, txom which slie never afterwards got 
up, and we were reading the Bible — she explaining it to me, as I was about [ten] 
at the time — it was about an angel appearing that we were reading. I said to 
her, ' Oh, grandmother, I shan't stay here when you're gone ; I should be 
afraid.' My grandmother said, ' Nonsense, child ; I'm sure I shouldn't do 
thee any harm. ' When my grandmother died [in February, 1865] I was so 
frightened of being in the house that I went to a cousin's. After some time 
I returned home, and being one day dusting in a room (the room was next 
to that in which mj' grandmother died, and I was not thinking about her at 
the time), as I was dusting the looking glass, I saw my grandmother reflected 
in it, standing at the door. I turned round and saw her standing in her 
night-dress, with one foot in the room, and her head turned round to look 
at me. I made a run past her to go down stairs — but I passed nothing, for 
she disappeared I never knew where. My naother reproached me for coming 
down in that way, saying she had never seen such a way of coming dowar 
stairs ; and I said, ' I have seen grandmother,' and my mother said she ' could 
not think it.' I always thought my grandmother had come so, to show me 
she would do me no harm." 

The collector adds : — 

" Mrs. T., who is the wife of a blacksmith, says she never had any other 
experience, and that this one is as clear to her now as the day she saw it." 

The casting of a shadow by an apparition may similarly be ex- 
plained by suggestion. This is only recorded in two cases in the Census, 
which we proceed to give. It will be observed that in the first case 
the hallucination begins with the perception of the shadow. 

" At my grandmother's house, Albemarle Co., Virginia, U.S.A., at about 
11 p.m., my cousin. Miss S., somewhat older than I, and myself, had been 
conversing in the parlour. She left me. The house door opening into the 
jjarlour stood open, the night being warm, and the moonlight streamed in 
over the floor beside me as I sat, leaning on the sofa-arm, my back to 
the entrance. The .shadow of a human form fell on the moonlit floor. Half 
turnmg my head I saw a tall woman dressed in white, her back to me. By the 
contour and the gleam of the j^laits round her head I recognised my cousin, 
and deemed she had doffed her black dress to try a white one. I addressed 
an ordinary remark to her. She did not reply and I turned right round upon 
her. Then she went out of the door down the entrance steps, and as she dis- 
appeared I wondered I had heard nothing of a step or the rustle of her dress. 
I sat and puzzled over this, though without taking fright, for a few minutes. 
I was unoccupied, ruminating quietly ; in robust health ; completely awake ; 
untroubled ; [age] 16 years about. It was, I felt convinced, though I did not see 
her face, my cousin. I am short-sighted, but fully believed I saw my cousin. 

(361. 9.) 

From Miss A. S. 

December 30th, 1889. 


Report on the Census of B allucinations. [chap. 

She had shortly before left the room by the inner door. She lived there. I 
was fanniliar with the sight of her. I was alone for about half-an-hour. I 
then sought niy cousin and found her in the other sitting-room with my 
grandmother. I said, 'I thought you had changed your dress.' She said, 
' No, I have not.' I asked, ' Didn't you come to the house door just now ? ' 
She said, ' I've been with grandmother the last half-hour, — since I left you.' 
I then grew frightened and went up to the only other two inmates, at that 
hour, of the house. These two (females) denied that they had been 
downstairs during the interval. The negro slaves had all gone to their 
(outside) quarters for the night." 

In the next case, on the other hand, the perception of the shadow 
follows that of the figure. 

(240. 13.) From Mrs. W. 

January 8th, 1890. 
" I apparently saw my brother walk down stairs in his house in Newport, 
Mon., between 2 and 3 o'clock, p.m., one summer day, 25 years ago. My 
br(.)ther had left us with the object of changing dress to take us (lut for a 
walk or drive that afternoon. The vision was so distinct that I called my 
brother by name, but it (the vision) bowed its head as if to avoid obsei-vation. 
I then looked over the bannisters and saw the shadow of the figure disappear 
from the stairs, letired to my room and mentioned tlie matter to my sister 
who was with me, when we went to his room and called him, finding him 
still there and in deshabille, and he had not been on the stairs or out of his 

" The house in which the matter mentioned occurred had the reputation 
of being haunted, though I was unaware of this at the time and was not 
told until next day by some one who knew nothing of this particular 
occurrence. My brother has told me he once saw, as he thought, our 
mother jjass through one of the bedrooms. Our mother was at the time 
living in [another town]." 

We may compare with this another case, No. 180. 15., where the 
percipient says, " I watched the figure walk right round the room, 
passing l)etween myself and the candle on the dressing-table, (for a 
moment [it] hid the light from me), until it reached the hearth-rug, 
when it disappeared." The feature of appearing to hide the light of a 
candle is also mentioned in No. 37. 13 (see p. 313). 

It is, of course, the usual property of a fully externalised visual 
hallucination to appear to shut out the view of objects behind it ; 
the efiect merely becomes more conspicuous when the object in 
question is a light. For, in order that a hallucinatory figure 
may take a definite place among the objects seen by the per- 
cipient, and completely simulate the body that it represents — as it 
•ordinarily does when fully externalised — the vision of real things 
through the retina must obviously be inhibited to a corresponding 
■extent. Sometimes, indeed, as we have before observed (Chap. VI., 


Expectancy and Suggestion. 


p. 119), the inhibition partially fails: the visible phantasm does not 
completely obliterate the view of objects behind it. The apparition 
then gives the impression of transparency ; and, lacking the quality 
of opacity, it fails to attain a completely realistic appearance. 

A similar inhibition of the vision of real objects occurs in tlie 
" negative hallucinations " imposed on hypnotic subjects, when a 
person or object is made invisible to them by suggestion. But to 
be able thus not to see a real object to which the attention is 
directed, in the absence of any imaginary obstacle, requires a very high 
degree of suggestibility ; accordingly, we find that, even in hypnosis, 
some subjects appear to cai'ry out the suggestion by creating for 
themselves spontaneously a hallucinatory obstacle.^ Another striking 
effect of suggestion in the " negative hallucinations " of hypnosis 
is that the subject sometimes imagines that he can see real 
objects in front of which a person who has been made invisible to 
him by suggestion is standing. (See MM. Binet and Fere, Animal 
Magnetism, p. 309). Actual vision of these objects is, of course, pre- 
vented, but the subject seems spontaneously to create a hallucination 
of them, in order to fill up the gap whicli the invisible object has 
produced in his field of vision."- 

As the vision of real objects is affected by that of hallucinatory 
objects, so the vision of hallucinatory objects is, in tlie great majority 
of cases, aflfected by the various physical conditions which would 
affect real vision. Thus a i-eal obstacle placed in front of the eyes 
generally prevents the sight of an apparition (see case of Prof. 
Vignoli, p. 141) ; similarly, on closing the eyes, the apparition usually 
vanishes, and occasionally is seen again on reopening them, as in Pi'of. 
Vignoli's case. See also an experience of Mrs. D.'s [Appendix D) and 
the following. 

(364. 5.) From Miss T. D. 

August 20th, 1890. 
' ' I was reading by candle-light in summer [in 1868 or 1869], alone in a 
large room in the upper storey of a house in a small town, about 11 p.m. ; 
the blinds were not drawn. I looked up and saw close to the panes outside 
the figure of a man, who was staring at me ; the figure was dressed in a 

1 We observed this in the case of one of the Brighton subjects with whom the 
experiments in thought-transference described in Proceedings S.P.E.., Vol. VIII., 
pp. 536 et seq., were carried out. When the operator, who had been made invisible to 
him by suggestion, was standing immediately in front of him, we gathered from his 
remarks that he saw a vague dark mass or shadow between him and the operator. 

- This, however, does not always happen ; in our Brighton experiments, the 
subject was sometimes conscious that he could not see what was actually hidden from 
him by the invisible person, and was occasionally much puzzled to know what was 
hiding it. 

190 Report on the Gensm of Hallucinations. [chap. 

Avhite linen jacket of the kind German soldiers wear in summer, and 
appeared down to the waist over the window ledge. I forced myself to shut 
my eyes, wishing to try whether I should see the figure with eyes shut, but 
I did not. When I reopened them the figure was still there, but disappeared 
very soon. T was working ratlier hard for an examination, and used to sit 
up till midnight or later. I was nearly 18 years old." 

With these cases we may compare further results found by MM. Binet 
and Fere in experimenting on the hallucinations of hypnotised persons, 
namely, that the hallucinatory objects were sometimes hidden by real 
screens placed in front of them and sometimes not. {Animal Magnetism, 
p. 234.) In the cases where the hallucinatory objects continued to be 
seen in spite of the screen, some subjects appeared to see them in the 
same place as at first, namely, behind the screen, while others would 
see them transferred to the front of the screen. Similarly, in 
experimenting witli hallucinatory pictures on blank sheets of paper, it 
has been observed that some sul)jects, if another blank sheet is placed 
over the one on which they first saw the picture, will see it — either at 
once or after an interval — on the new sheet. Also, in some of M. 
Binet's experiments (quoted in Phantasms of the Livinc/,Yo\. I., p. 472, 
foot-note) " after a screen had been interposed between the patient's 
eyes and the imaginary object, she continued to see, not only that 
object (say, a mouse) but a 7-eal object (say, a hat) on which it had 
been placed." 

The difference between hypnotic cases and the apparitions seen by 
persons in a normal waking state, — ■ which, as we have said, are 
almost always hidden by anything of the nature of a screen, — seems to 
be that the mind of the waking percipient is not exclusively concen- 
trated on the apparition, but is aware of his general surroundings, and 
therefore open to suggestions from them. Whereas, in the hypnotic 
state, an idea impressed by ver))al suggestion takes hold of the 
mind with greater insistency and exclusiveness than in the normal 
state ; the subject ignores everything else for the moment, and there- 
fore other actions or objects do not suggest to him any modification 
of his original percept.^ 

Another illustration of the similarity of the vision of hallucinatory 
objects to that of real objects is shown in the fact that an apparition 

1 The cases where a I'eal object that has been made invisible by suggestion appears 
not to obstruct the view of real objects behind it cannot be explained in exactly the 
same way. Here a certain amount of unconscious reasoning seems to come into 
play ; the subject, being convinced that there is no obstacle between him and the 
real objects in question, infers from this that he must be able to see them, and 
unconsciously conjures up a hallucination of them in order to harjnonise his con- 
ception of the situation. 


Expectancy and Suggestion. 


does not generally follow the movements of the eyes,i but can be looked 
away from, and back to, like a real object. 

Sometimes the seeing of an apparition seems to depend on the 
presence of light, and this is probably due to suggestion also. 
(Apparitions seen in the dark, which are rare, are discussed in Chapter 
IV., see p. 78). Thus, in one case (No. 443. 15) the figure, seen by 
the light of a lamp, disappeared when the lamp was turned out. In 
No. 402. 19 (Baron von Driesen's case, see Chapter XVII, ) the per- 
cipient first heard foot-steps, and did not see the apparition till he had 
struck a light. Again, in No. 422. 25 (see p. 192) the apparition 
vanished when the light was put out and was seen again on re- 
lighting it. 

Another instance of the operation of suggestion may be found in 
the apparent elFects on real objects produced by apparitions. The 
most commonly reported cases are the apparent opening of doors in 
■connection with the entrance or exit of a ghost. We have already 
spoken of the possibility that the movement in such cases may have 
been real. Where there is any clear evidence that this was so, we 
have to consider whether the door was not moved by ordinary means, 
such as draughts, and whether, in that case, the movement may 
not have led by expectation to the seeing of the apparition, as sug- 
gested above (see p. 184). But in most cases of this kind included 
in the Census, we have no evidence worth considering in sujDport of 
the hypothesis that any actual effect was produced on the door ; 
nor does this generally appear to be the view of the percipients : 
so that there is nothing to prevent us from regarding the apparent 
movement as merely part of the whole hallucinatory conception,-' just 
as the movement of the apparition itself is. 

The following are two cases of a somewhat peculiar character, in 
which apparitions seemed to produce material effects other than the 
opening of doors. 

(684. 1.) From Mrs. P. 

Febniary 23rd, 1892. 
" I saw luy eldest child Daisy run down the two lowest steps of the stair- 
case into the drawing-room. I followed, calling her, but obtaining no answer. 
The figure ran under the table, and the cloth wliere she passed under shook. 
I paused for resolution, raised the cloth and saw nothing. Date , 1865. 

' Only one case, arid that a somewhat dubious one, of an apparition moving with 
the eyes is reported in the Census. This is quoted in Chapter VII., p. 1.34. 

-There are only three cases of reported movements of real objects seen not in 
connection with an apparition — two when a door seemed to open and shut (Nos. 
114. 6 and 264. 23, see pp. 343-4), and one when the handle of a locked door seemed 
to be twisted round (No. 285. 14— see P;-oeeerfm£/6- S.P.R., Vol. VIII., p. 328). There 
seems to be no reason for regarding these appearances as other than hallucinatory. 


Report on the Census of Hallucinations. [chap. 

Time, 3 p.m. At the time .she was at the top of the house. I had just come 
in and was standing in the hall by tlie pantry. I liad recently lost my father. 
Age 28. 

" My late husband saw a vision of another daughter in almost identical 
circumstances a month later." 

(422. 25.) From Mr. D. Amosof. 

Man 24«(, 1891. 

" L'annee 1883, a St. Petersbourg, [j'ai] ete temoin de I'apparitioii 
dont voici le recit. 

" J'etais alors age de 19 ans et sur le point d'achever le cours de mes 
Etudes au premier corps des cadets a St. Petersbourg. Au mois de D^cembre 
de la meme annee (la date m'est echappee), je me trouvais dans le logement 
de ma mere a Petersbourg. Etant alors en voie de gudrison, apres une 
maladie de gorge, et Ic medecin ayant trouv^ I'etat de ma sante satisfaisant, 
je me proposal de quitter le lit le lendemain. II etait jjres de minuit, et 
un silence coniplet regnait dans la maison. J'avais eteint la bougie, placee 
sur une petite table a cote du lit, au jjied duquel se trouvait un tabouret. 

' ' Las de me tourner sans pouvoir m'endormir, j 'eu.s I'idee de fumer, et 
j'etendis le bras a la faible lueur d'une allumette pour jirendre les papiros. 
En ce moment j'aperqus distinctement sur le tabouret ma defunte grand'- 
mere, Marie Al^xeevna VolohofF(la mere de ma mere), morte depuis cinq ans, 
c'est-a-dire, en 1878. Assise sur le tabouret, elle s'accoudait a la table 
et me regardait fixement. Terrific, je jetai I'allumette, en retombant sur 
les coussins. M'etant un peu tranquillise, j'allumai une bougie, et je revis 
I'apparition, qui etait toujours la, comme aupai-avant, accoudee a la table. 
Recourant a tout le sang-froid dont j'etais capable, je pris un pajjiros 
et en dirigeai la fumee vers I'apparition meme. Quel ne fut pas mon 
etonnement, en voyant la fumee -se parta(ier des deii,x cotes de Vwpparition, 
comme heurtant un ob.stacle. Ensuite I'apparition se leva; j'entendis par- 
faitement le bruit du tabouret recule, et vis ma grand'mere, se tenant sur les 
bequilles (ses pieds furent paralyses quelques annees avant sa mort). Elle 
avait sa robe noire habituelle et une cafetiere a la main, dont elle ne s'^tait 
presque jamais separee de son vivant. L'apparition tit quelques pas en arriere ; 
puis, toujours en reculant, sortit dans le corridor par la porte de ma chambre, 
qui etait ouverte. S'etant arretee pour me dire les paroles suivantes : ' Ne 
m'oublie pas, Daniel, et viens sur ma tombe,' la figure disparut. 

" Je sautai du lit et m'dlangai par le corridor dans la chambre a coucher 
de ma mere, que je r^veillai, ainsi que mon beau-pere, pour leur raconter le 
fait. Apres cet incident je craignais longtemps de dormir dans une chambre 
sombre. " D. Amosof." 

The following notes are from Mr. Amosof's mother and stepfather. 

' ' Je me souviens parfaitement, que mon fils Daniel est accouru par une 
nuit du mois de Decembre, 188.3, pour me reveiller et me raconter, qu'il 
avait vu I'apparition de sa grand'mere (ma mere), ainsi qu'il I'a expose dans 
son recit. " Marie Tbl^chof." 

" Daniel m'a reveille la meme nuit et m'a fait part de sa vision. 

" Athanase Tel^chof." 

For another experience of Mr. Amosof's, see p. 227. 


Expectancy and Suggestion. 


Hallucinations affecting more than one sense. 

The operation of suggestion is also to be traced in the hallucina- 
tions that affect more than one sense. In almost all cases, the 
alfection of the first sense seems to lead on to that of the other, which 
follows to complete a familiar conception.^ 

We have disci;ssed above the possibility that non-vocal sounds, 
such as footsteps, which sometimes precede the seeing of an apparition, 
may occasionally be real noises, which lead by expectation to the 
sight. But in some cases the apparition is fii'st seen, and then foot- 
steps or some other sounds apparently caused by it are heard, as in 
the case last quoted : the sound is then to be regarded as part of the 
hallucination ; and this is still more obvious when the apparition is seen 
and then heard to speak definite words, as in the same case and in 
many others, — e.g. Nos. 620. 4 (see p. 195) and 422. 22 (Mr. Mamt- 
chitch's experiences, Chap. XVII.), where the apparition speaks in 
answer to a question from the percipient. This latter feature is 
also recorded in a few other cases. Sometimes the hearing of a voice 
seems to lead on to the seeing of an apparition, as in No. 464. 15 
(Miss Dodson's case, in Chap. XVII. ). Sometimes, again, an appari- 
tion is first seen and then felt to touch the percipient, as in Nos. 61. 6 
(see p. 252), 215. 9 (see p. 224), and 73. 20 (see p. 132).^ Some- 
times the development is of a more complicated kind, as in the 
following case, where, as will be seen, three senses appear to have been 
more or less involved, and the hallucinatory vision included an impres- 
sion of life-like movement. 

(470 1.) From Miss M. C. 

April 1891. 

" In 1866 I had a situation as governess in Herefordshire. [My age was 
then] 39. One Sunday I was sufl'ering greatly from headache, to which I was 

then very subject. Mrs. M placed me on the sofa and said she would 

take charge of the children, in the hope that perfect quiet would do me good. 
Shortly after, she came to me and touched me on the shoulder, saying, as I 
thouo-ht, ' Take care of the children.' Knowing she was in delicate health, 
I immediately followed her out of the room, seeing her until I reached the 
hall, when I supposed she passed through one of the doors leading out of 
the hall. I then went to look for the children, and to my surprise found the 
mother reading to them ; she asked why I had disturbed myself ; my reply 
was, ' You called me.' She laughed, and said : ' You have been dreaming.' 
Though I knew I had not slept, still T should have fancied I had done so, if 
I had°not followed her across the room into the hall. Mrs. M. died in less 
than a fortnight from that time." 

' This operation is, we think, traceable in the veridical no less than in the 
merely subjective cases : only in the former cases the suggestion of which we are 
speaking, of course, merely supplies a part of the explanation of the phenomenon ; 
it merely detennines the form in which the supernormal influence takes effect. 


194 Report on the Census of Hallucinations. [chap. 

In these " bisensory " or "trisensory" cases, the constructive 
imagination seems to have reached a higher point than in simple 
visual or auditory hallucinations, further details being added which 
make the percept more consistent with ordinary experience, and there- 
fore more like reality. This may be regarded as an example of sugges- 
tion and unconscious expectancy. The resemblance of hallucinatory 
objects to the real objects that we are accustomed to see, e.g., human 
beings, would generally lead to the expectation that they would, like 
real objects, be perceptil)le to other senses besides that of sight. From 
Table II. it appears that in nearly 14 per cent. (225 out of 1622) of 
the cases,^ more than one sense is affected. The expectation that this 
will occur is not always excited, and, even when it is, the constructive 
power does not always succeed in creating a hallucination of more than 
one sense. Thus, in certain cases, the appeal to other senses is definitely 
i)bserved to fail, e.g., when the percii^ient seeing an apparition puts out 
his hand to touch it and can feel nothing, (see account of Dr. H. C, 
p. 117); or when it is reported that no audible effect is produced 
when an apparition goes through the motions of speaking ^ (^e.g. No. 
425. 12. p. 211) or of making sounds {e.g. No. 390. 1, p. 150) ; or again, 
when, as in the following case, it is observed that the apparition not 
only walks with noiseless footsteps, but also fails to cast a shadow. 

(544. 10) From Miss C. B. 

October 1th, 1891. 

" At the top of Heigham Road, Norwich, on New Year's Eve, about the 
year 1879 or later, at 10 p.m., my elder sister and myself were walking 
home from a quiet evening spent with an aunt and uncle. To our right a 
row of houses wei-e divided from a house enclosed in a high wall by a 
passage. Quietly out of the passage came an old woman about 5 feet in 
height, wearing dark brown dress, and large black sliawl fastened across the 
chest, the point of it reaching nearly to the bottom of the dress, and 
a small poke bonnet. She walked before us some yards, exciting my 
wonder by her noiselessness upon the gravel path, and finally by the fact 
that she cast no shadow. Putting my hand upon my sister's arm I said, 
'What a funny old woman,' but with the movement of my hand she 
disappeared, we being by the blank wall in which there was neither gate 
nor opening, with plenty of gas lights, so that she must have been seen 
crossing the road. I was in perfect healtli and peace of mind, and I think 17 
at the time. The old woman was entirely strange to me, I had not for years 
seen anyone like her : she simply reminded me in dress of the old-fashioned 
type of respectable old age. My sister [who] was with me saw nothing." 

' Excluding the cases where only an auditory halhicination of a non-vucal kind 
is added to the hallucination of another sense, the proportion is reduced to a little 
over 9 per cent. — 152 out of 1622. 

' An interesting intermediate case is that in which an inaudible impression of 
words is conveyed without any movement of the lips of t4ie apparition (see, for 
instance, case of Miss G., pp. 88-9). 


Expectancy and Suggestion. 


The frequent extension of a hallucinatory conception to other 
senses besides the one primarily affected, seems to render it probable 
that a person experiencing a hallucination has his susceptibility to 
hallucinatory influences momentarily heightened — as it is heightened 
in the hypnotic state. This view is supported by a small class of 
bisensory cases, somewhat different from those just considered, in 
which the correspondence between the two elements of the double 
phenomenon is less close and complete. An example of this class is 
No. 579. 24 (see p. 223) where the percipient sees an apparition of his 
father and hears an unrecognised voice telling him of his father's 
death. Here there seems to be no necessary connection between the 
two hallucinations ; but it is as if the telepathic impulse were externa- 
lised almost simultaneously in two different ways, in a manner that 
suggests an exceptional degree of insistent force. We cannot, however, 
always draw the line between these and the ordinary bisensory cases, 
where the affection of the two senses seems to give merely two different 
aspects of what is obviously the same conception, as when an apparition 
seems itself to sjDeak, in a voice which is recognised as belonging to the 
person represented by it. Thus we have an intermediate case in No. 
728. 16 (see p. 309), where the tactile hallucination was obviously 
suggested Ijy the sight of the apparition that preceded it, though not 
definitely connected with this. Another intermediate case is No. 
205. 1 (see \y. 199) which might be taken as an example of arrested 
development, so far as the visual part of the percept was concerned, 
while the auditory part was fully developed and recognised. 

Sequent Hallucinations of the same Sense. 

Analogous to the bisensory phenomena last considered are cases in 
which a hallucination is followed by another of the same sense, repre- 
senting a different object, but so that the connexion of thought is 
manifest. Thus, in No. 460. 1 (see p. 288) the percipient first sees the 
figure of her brother dying at the foot of her bed, and then sees a 
cofiin in the same place. This may be compared with the crystal- 
visions which follow or respond to the course of conscious thought 
in the mind of the percipient, for instance. No. 406. 25 (p. 106). 
The following is a peculiar case of this kind, which is also bisensory 
— verbal suggestion from an apparition producing a second visual 

(620. 4) From Mrs. W. E. 

[The account is wi-itten by the collector, the Rev. H. Kendall, and 
signed by the percipient.] 

J%dy 13th, 1892. 

"Mrs. E. was staying in the year 1890 by the seaside for a few days, 
having left all her children at home. She was feeling rather exhausted and 

o 2 

196 Report on the Census of Hallucinations. [chap. 

requiring a change. One night, when quite awake and in full possession of 
her powers, when she was somewhat anxious about the children she had left 
behind, her mother came and lay close beside her, and she saw her afterwards 
as she retired. Her mother spoke to her very sympathetically, as if 
entering into all her anxiety and depression. She assured her that all was 
right at home, and in order to satisfy herself that this was so, she should 
see her youngest child. Accordingly she saw the child up in a corner of the 
room near the ceiling. Her mother encouraged her to look up where the 
child was, and assured her it would do her no harm. When this occurred 
her mother had been dead four years. She was very much beloved by her 
children. Mrs. E. ascertained that all was right at home just as she had been 
told. She has never at any other time seen or heard anything that she 
would deem supernatural. What she saw and heard [then] was too real for 
her to be able to explain it by mere tension of the nerves." 
" The above account is correct. 

(Signed) " E. E. " 

We may compare with this another remarkable case — also slightly 
bisensory — where the ceasing of a hallucination of unique persistence 
seems to be due to self-suggestion, taking the form of suggestion from 
the appai'ition. The further information which the collector gives 
about the percipient shows that she must have had — at least during 
some part of her life — an unusual tendency to carry out self-suggestions 
of various kinds. 

(327.25.) From Madame R. 

April 22nd, 1890. 

" En 1882, au mois de Janvier, vers 2 a 3 h. du jour, en passant par 
un long corridor de notre maison, j'ai senti quelqu'uii a cote de moi. En nie 
retournant je vis une personne, dont je ne saurais pas dire le sexe, habillee en 
une tres large robe grise. Elle etait tres pale, avec de grands yeux noirs, et 
de longs cheveux noirs retombant sur les epaules, avec une raie au milieu. 
Je ne fus nullement effrayee et meme pas etonnee. J'allais dans la chambre 
d'^tude pour prendre une leqon. J'^tais bien portante, gaie. J'avais I'age de 
14 ans. Cette ombre ou vision ne m'a jamais quittee 2 mois ou 6 semaines de 
suite. Si je ne la voyais pas, je lasentais a cote de moi, je sentais son souffle 
sur mon epaule. Si je causais avec quelqu'un, e'est a elle que je m'adressais, 
car je la voyais derriere la j^ei'sonne a qui je parlais. ' L'ombre ' avait 
une tres belle figure, tantot gaie, tantot triste. Elle semblait etre contente 
quand je faisais bien, chagrinee quand je faisais mal. J'etais tellement habituee 
a cette vision que je ne m'en inqui(^tais pas. C'etait la premifere figure que je 
voyais en me reveillant, la derniere en m'endormant. Elle ne me disait 
jamais rien, mais elle me faisait quelquefois des signes de la tete. Elle disparut 
tout a coup dans le meme corridor oil je I'ai vue pour la premiere fois. Elle 
me regarda, me fit un signe de tete, et je sentis que je ne la reverrai jamais, 
puis elle disparut, je ne sais comment. Depuis je n'ai jamais ni vu ni ren- 
contrd une figure semblable, ni en reve, ni en rdalitf?. Dans le premier 
moment personne [n'etait avec moi] ; depuis je la voyais etant en societe. 


Expectancy and Suggestion. 


mais les persoimes presentes n'ont jamais rien vu, et lorsque j'enpaiiais, on 
se moquait de moi, croyant que j'inventais." 

The collector, Mine, de Holstein, writes : — 

" Le cas de Mine. R. est interessant, parcequ' il parait que c'etait le debut 
d'une serie de phenomenes tres etranges, qui se sont developp^s plus 
tard. Deux ans apres le cas decrit, Mme. R. avait des acces de sommeil 
spontane. EUe s'endorniait sans aucune raison, a n'importe quelle heure de 
la journee. Pendant ce somineil eUe avait du delire, elle parlait a differentes 
personnes, qui paraissaient lui repondre. Tres souvent on entendait qu'elle 
fixait I'heure et le jour d'un rendezvous a ces personnes invisibles, et alors 
on etait sur qu'elle s'endorniira le jour et I'heure fixes. Au reveil elle n'avait 
aucune conscience de ce qu'elle avait dormi, ni encore moins de ce qu'elle 
avait vu. Deux ans plus tard ces acces de sommeil disparurent sans laisser 
de traces, et pour toujours. Mme. R. est actuellement une femme absolument 
saine au point de vue nerveux." 

In the follomng case of sequent hallucinations, there is an interval 
of one or two hours between the successive phenomena ; but it can 
hardly be doubted that the first led to the second. 

(485. 13) From Mr. H. M. 

Auijud 9th, 1891. 

"In May 1890, about 8 p. ni., I looked up from my seat by the fire 
and saw my wife standing near the door. ' My dear, have you come home ? I 
didn't see you come in,' I said, rising, but ere I reached her she had dis- 
appeared. I did look about for her, but contented myself with tlie con- 
viction that I had made a very strange mistake. Bedtime came a Uttle 
later, and, as is my habit, I opened the front door to look round, and there, 
facing me a few feet off in the road, stood my wife's mother, who had been 
dead ten years. I ims shocked then. 'In the name of God, what do you 
come for 1 ' I said. She moved to her left, and I followed till, opposite the 
window of my next door neighbour, where was a light, she vanished. I 
was smoking comfortably, in no trouble of mind or body. My age 64. My 

wife had been for some little time — a few weeks — with an invalid at H , 

and when told what I have stated of her visit to me, she said she was not 
surprised, for she had thought of me very anxiously, because she was 
staying longer than she had intended. When I went on to tell of her 
mother's appearance, she was greatly disturbed in mind, as I was myself. 
We told it to no one but our children and near relatives. Our children are 
all grown up. My wife is now getting very much like her uiother, but at 
that tune there was no mistaking the one for the other. I was alone in the 
house ; could not sleep that night, but kept my eyes closed lest I should 
see more than I wished, and in the morning went to see my wife, about 
whom I was very anxious, and finding her all right, I forbore to trouble her 
mind with what I had seen till she came home. I've never seen or heard 
anything I couldn't account for before or since, and I have been used to be 
out, often in the church and churchyard, at all hours of the night. There 
was no need to write it down, I couldn't forget, but I think I should only 
have thought it a mistake if I hadn't seen the second figure." 


Report on the Census of Hallucinations. [chap. 

Chapter XI. 


In the present chapter we propose to consider certain organic 
effects reported to us as accompanying hallucinations. It may 
perhaps be thought that this discussion would have been more fitly- 
placed in Chapter VII., in connexion with the "Physiology of Hallu- 
cinations " : our reason for placing it here is that, in considering the 
explanation of these phenomena, it is important to bear in mind the 
operation of suggestion, illustrated in the preceding chapter. 

The first effect to be noticed is the " feeling of cold " — generally 
described as a "chill" or "cold shudder" — which is sometimes 
reported as accompanying or immediately j^receding hallucinations. 
This is so common in magazine stories of apparitions that our readers 
may expect to find it a normal feature in the narratives collected by 
us : it is, however, on the contrary, quite an exceptional feature, being- 
only reported in seven cases,^ — exclusive of about half-a-dozen cases in 
which a "feeling of cold breezes" is mentioned. Now it has been 
maintained (see Journal S.P.R., Vol. IV., pp. 296-7) that one distinc- 
tion between phantasms of the living and those of the dead is that the 
latter are specially liable to produce this sensation, whereas it hardly 
ever occurs with the former. This conclusion is not supported by the 
evidence on the subject furnished by our Census.- Out of the seven 
cases reported, only one is a phantasm of the dead, namely, No. 422. 22 
(Mr. Mamtchitch's case in Chapter XVII). Another is No. 458. 9, (see 
p. 332), and here the person apparently represented by the hallucina- 
tion was living at the time. The following are three other cases. 

(182. 9.) From Miss K. M. 

(The account was written in 1889.) 

' ' [About 20 years ago] I was about 10 years old, and was staying with 
friends in Kensington. Between the hour of 8 and 9 p.m., we were all sitting 
in tlie drawing-room with the door open, [it] being a very warm evening. 
Suddenly I experienced a cold shudder, and on looking through the door, 
opposite which I was sitting, I saw a figure of a little old lady dressed in a 
long brown cloak with a large brown hat, carrying a basket, glide down the 
stairs and disappear in the room next the drawing room. The impression 
was that of some one I had never seen. I was talking on ordinary subjects, 
neither ill, in grief, or anxiety. There were several otlier people in the 
room, but no one noticed anything but myself. I liave never had any 
experience of the kind before or since." 

1 It is, of course, not improbable that the sensation may have been felt in other 
cases in which it has not been recorded. 

" See also Phantasms of the Living, Vol. II., p. 37, foot-note. Of the cases there 
referred to, three were coincident with a death, and three others with an event 
occurring to the iMrson represented. 


Organic Effects. 


(205. 1.) From Mrs. F. R. 

November dth, 1889. 
" When my father was lying on what proved to be his death-bed, I was 
obliged to go to the dentist. I was of course anxious about him and in pain. 
But the physician had told us we need not fear the death of the patient. 
While waiting in the ante-room, I seemed to feel a shudder and to see a 
white cloud before me, and heard my father call me by name. I immediately 
left and found my father insensible and he died a few hours after. This 
occurred May 5th, 1879, when I was 20." 

(277. 7.) From Miss T. B. 

January, 1890. 

" With my bodily eyes I have never yet seen the scene I see so often in 
mental vision, which, never varying, is always an expanse of bright green 
lawn of great extent, or large field, with a shady glade or path on the left 
hand side ending indefinitely. Suddenly the scene falls into shadow, and a 
horrible chill sensation comes across me. I sh\idder, and the whole thing is 
gone. Sometimes this feeling occurs several times in a day, and sometimes 
not for months. I know for a fact it only lasts a moment, but is so vivid while 
it lasts that evei-ything else is as nothing, though I see this through the book 
I am reading or the people I am talking to. It has occurred during every 
condition of mind and body; and the first occasion is, I think, the first thing 
I distinctly remember. I was just four years old, and sitting alone in the 
nursery [in] broad daylight, when I saw this green brightness, and then when it 
darkened I remember screaming out, and the nurse coming in and telling me 
I had a new little brother just born, so by this I can fix the date. The curious 
part is that up to middle age the appearance has never varied one iota. " 

In another case (No. 579. 21) the percipient, who was then a girl at 
school, saw an apparition of herself sitting by her side. This recurred 
several times, the apparition being always seen on one side of her, and 
imitating all her movements. It was always accompanied by a sensa- 
tion of cold and then of exti*eme weakness. It recurred for two or 
three months, during a period of serious ill-health, for which reason the 
hallucination has been excluded from our Tables. 

In the last case (No. 736. 18) the percipient felt her dress pulled 
and a cold shiver run through her at the time of the death of a fi'iend 
about whose illness she was in anxiety. 

Thus of these seven cases, two (Nos 205. 1 and 579. 21) are cer- 
tainly phantasms of the living, and two more (Nos. 458. 9 and 736. 18) 
are possibly so. We may add the following somewhat grotesque case 
of what was perhaps an illusion, which reached us independently 
of the Census. 

From Mrs. S. W. 

January SOi/i, 1892. 
"About two years ago I was walking alone along a carriage drive, over- 
looking an old shrubbery, about 4 o'clock in the afternoon. The day was 

200 Report on the Census of Hallucinations. [chap. 

bright and clear, and below nie among the slirubs 80 yards off I saw a tall 
thing like a long pole overtopping the shrubs, moving through them in a 
stately manner ; some articles seemed to hang from the top of the pole. 
After moving for a few yards in a straight line it vanished. I felt cold as ice. 
I did not rush away, but looked at it as long as it was to be seen, then I ran 
home a quarter of a mile. As soon as I reached home I sent [the coach- 
man] to the shrubbery garden, and he returned and assured me he could not 
see anything ; he hunted everywhere and the two gates were quite safe." 

It will be observed that in some of these cases the chill is reported 
as preceding, in others as accompanying oi- following the hallucination. 
In the latter cases it would seem to be a natural result, on certain 
physical temperaments, of the emotional excitement — terror, awe, etc., 
— caused by the unusual experience ; while in such recurrent cases as 
No. 277. 7 (p. 199) the regular recurrence of the chill may perhaps be 
due to association. One of our collectors (Mr. E. L. Kearney) has 
communicated to us a rather curious case of the association of this 
sensation with the sight of a real object of a kind which does not 
excite any strong emotion in ordinary minds. The account is as 
follows : — 

' ' The sight of a meteor gives me (usually) a chilling sensation from head 
to foot. On one occasion (about 1877) I was walking with a friend, now 
dead, and felt the sensation without seeing a meteor. I instantly demanded 
of my companion if he saw one, and he replied that he did. T have never 
come across any one who shared this peculiarity with me." 

But where the chill precedes the hallucination, it seems clear that 
the sensation must be regarded as an incident of the whole nervous 
disturbance of which the hallucination is one effect. In this connexion, 
we tnay refer to a case quoted by Professor James [Princijyles of 
Psychology, Vol. II., p. 323), of the apparition of a corjase, seen by 
a blind man. The experience recurred repeatedly, and was always 
preceded in the percipient by a feeling of " a cold draught of air 
suddenly upon his face, with a prickling sensation at the roots of his 
hair." He afterwaixls traced the experiences to the strong tea which 
he was in the habit of taking for lunch ; on giving it up, he never saw 
the corpse or any other apparition again. Hei'e again it seems possible 
that a link of association may have been established between the 
feelings of cold and prickling — probably resulting in the first instance 
from over-stimulation of the nerves — and the apparition : so that the 
apparitions after the first may have been partly suggested by the 
recurrence of the sensations. 

It will have been observed that in the last case the sensation was 
described as of " a cold draught of air." As has been already said, we 
have in our collection about half-a-dozen cases where it is said that the 


Organic Effects. 


feeling of cold breezes accompanied the seeing of an apparition. This, 
is mentioned, for instance, in the case that appeared, under the title of 
a " Record of a Haunted House," in the Proceedings S.P.R., Vol. 
VIII. (see pp. 320 and 325) ; on one occasion several members of the 
household heard footsteps at night walking up and down the landing- 
past them ; as the steps passed, they felt a cold wind, though the 
lighted candles they were holding were not blown about. This would 
seem to be merely another form of the feeling of chill just discussed. 

We pass to a more unusual kind of case, where a sensation is felt 
resembling that produced by electric shocks ; this, too, may perhaps be 
regarded as merely a variety of the "chill." 

(287. 15.) From Mrs. H. R. 

(The account was written in 1890. ) 

[After describing an experience quoted on p. 170, Mrs. R. continues : — } 

"Once I distinctly had the impression of some one bending over me at 
night, and the contact of this person produced thrills something similar to 
those produced by a galvanic battery. I felt that it was the late Mrs. 
Laurence Oliphant, and yet I was fully aware that, as she had been dead 
three years, it was impossible that I should receive any impression from her.. 
I absolutely disbelieve in any reappearance of the dead, I think it most 
improbable that there is any individual existence after death, and yet all my 
senses were impressed with the personality of Mrs. Oliphant. Mr. Lau- 
rence Oliphant had called upon me about a month before I had this 
experience, and no doubt this recalled to my mind a photograph I had once 
seen of his late wife. I don't think I ever see or hear or feel anything of 
the sort when I am in normal health." 

The collector, Mr. C . Schiller, writes : — 

"Mrs. R. tells me that her impression of Mrs. Oliphant was not an 
impression through any of the ordinary senses, but an impression of her 
presence, including, however, a consciousness of her form and features : 
quite indescribable in language. But she was made aware by it of details, 
like the colour of Mrs. Oliphant's hair, eyes, &c. She did not know Mrs. 
Oliphant personallj^ but could form a general idea of her from her photo- 
graph. The experience occurred in May, '88, and was not suggested in any 
way by Mr, L. Oliphant." 

In a few cases the organic accompaniment of a hallucination is some- 
what more serious than those which we have been illustrating. Thus in 
No. 422. 22 (Chapter XVII), Mr. Mamtchitch states that he turns, 
pale and his breathing is affected. Occasionally fainting is produced 
this is recorded in six cases in the Census. One is No. 33. 25 (see Pro- 
ceedings. Vol. V., p. 462), where the apparition was unrecognised by 
the percipient, but was supposed from subsequent enquiries to resemble 
a man, unknown to her, who had died in the room where it was seen. 
The other five cases were apparitions of dead persons known to the per- 

202 Report on the Census of Hallucinations. [chap. 

cipients. In three of these cases, it is very doubtful whether the 
hallucination was not an effect of the same physical condition that 
led to the fainting, rather than strictly the cause of the latter. Thus, 
in No. 152. 1, the percipient, camping out in Australia, had been 
nearly suffocated by the fumes of some charcoal which he was burn- 
ing to warm his tent ; on going outside to escape them, he saw the 
figure of his mother standing inside the tent, and then lost conscious- 
ness for some time. In No. 681. 9, again, after mentioning that he 
had fainted on seeing an apparition of his father, the percipient 
writes : — " a severe nervous illness dates from that evening '' [in 
January, 1884] "which has lasted on and off till within the last year" 
[1891] During the six weeks following his first experience, he saw 
the same apparition twice more, and fainted each time. Another 
case (No. 733. 18), quoted on p. 141, is an example of a hallucination 
probably induced by a state of nervous agitation. In the two reflnain- 
ing cases, however, (one of which is No. 728. 16, see p. 309) there is 
no indication of the hallucination being associated with any morbid 
condition of the percipient. 


Only in four cases is pain described as resulting from a hallucina- 
tory touch. In three of these the touch was connected with an appari- 
tion ; in the fourth c;ise, the impression was merely tactile. In one of 
the three cases, the apparition represented a dead person ; in the other 
two, which we quote, it was unrecognised. In the first of these latter 
cases, it is noteworthy that several other hallucinations experienced by 
the same jaercipient were followed by more or less marked physical in- 
disposition. It may perhaps be conjectured that this exceptional 
result indicates a tendency in this percipient to some peculiar i-ecurrent 
organic disturbance, which in its first stage manifested itself in a 
hallucination, and which in one case was attended by painful sensations 
in the left hand, the commencement of which mingled with the hallu- 

(417. 17.) From Dr. Vladimir Soloviofr. 

St. Petersburg, Febrnanj, 1891. 

"Vers 5 heures du matin le 17-29 Aout, 1890, etant arriv^ la veille de 
Moscou chez des amis a la cainjiagne, j'ai eu I'apparition suivante. M'etant 
^veill4 apres un somineil sans reves, et voyant clairement rentourage, 
j'entendis tout-a-coup, que la jjorte exterieure de ma chambre, qui donnait 
sur un balcon et qui etait fermee a I'interieur avec un crochet, s'ouvrait 
doucement, et je vis entrer une forme humaine en costume oriental — une 
espece de robe de chambre blanche avec bordure bleue. J'eprouvais une 
terreur panique et une stupeur complete sans pouvoir bouger ni proferer 
une parole. L'honnue blanc approcha de mou lit, et alors je vis que dans 


Organic Effects. 


sa main gauche il tenait un rouleau couvert de caracteres inconnus, qui ne 
ressemblaient ni au Sanscrit, ni a I'arabe, ni a I'h^breu, mais plutot au 
thib6tain. II se pencha sur moi, et alors je vis distinctenierit les traits de sa 
figure. Elle etait tres pale et d'un type tnongol mitige, avec une petite 
barbe d'un roux clair. En tenant toujours son rouleau devant mes yeux,il prib 
de sa main droite, qui etait libre, ma main gauche, et y enfongant ses ongles, 
ce qui me causa une douleur aigue, dit a voix basse quelques paroles (en 
langue russe) qui n'avaieut pas le sens commun. Apres un certain temps 
(dont la duree exacte serait difficile k determiner — une minute a peu 
pres) il abandonna ma main et disparut au milieu de la chambre. II ne 
ressemblait a personne que je connais. Je ne me suis plus rendormi, et 
pendant plusieurs jours apres cette apparition j'eprouvais des douleurs 
neuralgiques et des contractions dans ma main gauche. J'etais seul dans 
ma chambre. Des apparitions semblables, mais moins distinctes, me sont 
deja arrivees plusieurs fois durant I'ete de la meme annee, 1890, ainsi que 
dans les annees 1884, 1886, et 1889. Dans tous ces cas, les apparitions 
n'etaient precedees d'aucune maladie ni d'aucun trouble moral jsarticulier, 
mais elles amenaient a leur suite des indispositions physiques jjIus au moins 
marquees. Je suis absolument sur que ces apparitions n'etaient pas de 
simples reves ; mais je ne puis pas dire que I'etat de la conscience dans 
lequel je les ai eprouvees fut tout-a-fait normal — c'etait un etat a jjart, ne 
ressemblant ni au sommeil ni a I'etat de veille. J'ai actuellement I'age de 
38 ans, celibataire, occupe de travaux intellectuels dans le domaine de la 
philosophic, de I'histoire religieuse, et de la morale sociale. 

" De. Vladimir Solovioff" 
" (Membre honoraire de la Soci^te de Psychologie a Moscou)." 

The next case comes from Brazil. 

(725. 17.) From Mr. A. S. 

Novemhvr 5lh, 1891. 
" On [one] occasion, when asleep in bed, my wife awoke me, saying she 
heard a noise as of a cane striking on the ceiling. When the candle was out 
and my wife sleexjing,I heard the blows repeated on the framework of the bed 
itself. I rose, lit the candle, and examined everything in the room, and 
then visited the other rooms in the house. I could find no explana- 
tion for the noise. As soon as I returned to bed and blew out the 
candle, the raps were repeated. I looked towards the door of the corridor. 
There stood a child [who] seemed about four years old, of darkish skin, 
habited in the shirt which is usually worn by children of tliat age in Brazil. 
The apparition lasted but a short time. It occurred to me that it might harm 
my own child, and my first impulse was to throw some object at it to drive it 
away. On seizing a board that lay near, I felt a smart rap on the back of the 
hand, that pained me for three days after, though, indeed, tliere was no sign 
of contusion on the skin. My efforts to rise when I saw the vision were 
useless. I could at first only turn my head. Tliis happened in 1888." 

The I'arity of pain as an accompaniment of hallucinations — con- 
sidering the ease with which sensations of pain are produced by 

204 Report on the Census of Hallucinations. [chap. 

self-suggestion in the hysterical condition, as well as by suggestion in 
the hypnotic state — tends, we think, to conlirm our conclusion that 
hallucination is not ordinarily a symptom of a morbid condition. 

Further Physical Effects. 

In one case, the alarm caused by an ajaparition appears to have 
produced an organic effect somewhat more permanent than a fainting- 
fit. This case (No. 285. 14) was published in the "Record of a 
Haunted House," already referred to on p. 201 (see Proceedings 
S.P.R., Vol. VIII., pp. 319, 328). The percipient, then a parlour- 
maid in the house, had twice seen an apparition, which took the 
form of a dark shadowy figure, and she knew that others in the house 
had had similar experiences. After this, she was sitting up in her 
bedroom late one night when she heard a loud noise, and, looking up, 
saw the handle of her door twisted round, as though some one were 
trying to come in, the door being locked. She was very much 
frightened, and next morning on looking in the glass saw that one 
side of her face was slightly twisted. The effect lasted for some days. 
The doctor who attended her for it thought that it might have been 
caused by a draught as well as by a fright, but she was convinced 
that she had not caught cold, and that it was merely the effect of her 

Finally, we have two remarkable cases in which a hallucination is 
stated to have been accompanied by physical effects on the percipient's 
organism, resembling those that would have been produced by the 
jjressure of human fingers. The first of these cases is also noteworthy 
as being one of the very few in our collection in which a collective 
hallucination of touch is recorded. 

(106. 2.) From Miss M. P. 

February 16th, 1890. 
"My sister and I slept in the same bedroom at the top of the house — 
in small beds placed about 3 feet apart. One night about 3 years ago, [our 
ages at the time being respectively] 20 and 18, I awoke suddenly with the 
horrible feeling that some one was in the room. For a few minutes I lay still, 
too much frightened to speak to E. At last I called to her, and she answered 
in a voice of extreme terror, ' Who is in the room ? I have been awake for 
ages, and dare not speak.' At that moment a cokl hand touched my face; in 
an agony of fright 1 called to E. once again, but 7iot saying what liad 
happened. The next second she shrieked to me ' Some one touched my 
face.' Overcome with terror, we pulled the bed-clothes over our heads and 
shouted for help. A few minutes later my brother came, and we told him that 
some one was in the room. He searched everywhere, but of course found 
nothhig. E. complained that her face was burning, and on lighting tlie gas 
we saw that her face on the one side was crimson, with the distinct impress 
of a liand with outspread fingers. 

XI.] Organic Effects. 205 

"Twice afterwards, at intervals of about a month, we were awakened with 
the same horrible feeling of a strange presence in the room, which for a few 
minutes paralysed all powers of speech, and once we saw the same thing 

stand between our beds. ,r -r^ 

(Signed) " M. P. 

" E. P." 

(The second signature is that of the sister who shared tlie experience.) 
The collector, Miss Porter, writes : — 

February 28i/i, 1891. 
"MissM. P. has just been here talking about her experience, but was not 
able to add much to what she originally wrote. On the first occasion she 
lierself did not actually see the figure, but Miss E. P. thinks she did. The 
room was so dark that it would Iiave been impossible to have noticed any 
difference in the figures, if they had varied on the different occasions; con- 
sequently they decided that it was the same. The impression is that it 
always took the same course,— was between the two beds and passed from 
one to the other. 

' ' The experience has had such an effect upon them that, though nothing 
has been seen or felt since they left the house, they occasionally wake in a 
great fright -which soon passes off. Miss P. spoke of it as though the being 
awakened by the figure had got them into tlie habit of waking very much 

Mr. Podmore writes : — 

February 22nd, 1892. 

"I met the Misses P. on the 16th, and they gave me an account of their 
experiences, which occurred at their former house, about 1886 or 1887. 
They have no means of fixing the date precisely. The disturbances— four 
in number— occurred within the space of 2 or 3 weeks. On the first occasion 
Miss P. smo nothing ; on the second occasion both sisters felt a presence 
in the room, having been awoke from sleep by fright, but saw nothing ; 
on the third occasion Miss P. saw a very vague muffled form or shadow ; 
and, lastly, on another occasion. Miss E. P. again saw a vague form. 

"The visual sensations appear to have been extremely vague on all three 
occasions — certainly nothing approaching a distinct human figure. But the 
impression of terror produced was very strong. The percipients appear to have 
been quite unnerved by the fright on the first occasion — which may account 
for the repetition of the experience. They could not account for the first ex- 
perience, and had had nothing else of the kind. Tlieir health was good at 
the time. 

" The marks, as of fingers, on Miss E. P.'s face were very distinct. She 
had not been lying on that side— so there could have been no normal 
pressure there. 

" Their recollection does not seem to be now very clear of the several 
occasions on which they had the experience. But it seems certain that they 
had a collective experience of touching on the first occasion, at any rate, and 
solitary visual hallucinations on two subsequent occasions." 

The other case of this kind (No. 134. 5) is given by a lady, Mrs. 
A. C. S., who has all her life had a very large number of experiences 


Report on the Census of Hallucinations. [chap. 

(from the age of 6 to her present age, 56) of seeing visions — more or 
less externahsed — hearing voices and feehng touches, all of which 
she regards as due to the agency of spirits. " Among many other 
experiences of the kind," she writes, " I have frequently been 
touched by the finger of my eldest son [after his death], and 
the indentation of it would be plainly seen on my hand when 
the touch was felt, and sometimes it has been several times 
repeated by request for others to see it." The account is endorsed 
by Mrs. S.'s husband, but we have been unable to obtain further 

Some cases have been recorded of similar effects on the organism 
produced by self-suggestion in the normal state, e.g., a red mark on the 
ankle from seeing a gate likely to fall against a child,i while, by 
hypnotic suggestion, such effects may be carried much further. Thus 
Dr. J. Rybalkin^ suggested to a hypnotic subject that after waking he 
would warm himself at the stove (which had not been lighted) and 
liurn a certain place on his arm against it, and that blisters would be 
produced. The suggestion was duly carried out. Dr. Biggs, of Lima,^ 
irives an account of three cases in which he had caused a red mai'k in 
the shape of a cross to appear on the skin of his hypnotic subjects, the 
mark pei'sisting in one case for many months. Dr. von Krafft-Ebing* 
suggested to a hypnotic subject, on whom the experiment of producing 
blisters by liypnotic suggestion had several times been performed 
successfully, that a red mark in the shape of a letter K would develop 
without inflammation or pain, on a selected and protected area 
between the shoulder-blades. This occurred gradually, the process 
being completed in rather more than two months. Several similar 
cases are given in Mr. Myers' paper on " The Subliminal Con- 
sciousness " {Proceedings S.P.R., Vol. VIL, pp. 334-347), from which 
those just mentioned are taken. 

These instances of the influence of ideas on the organism show that 
it is not iiecessary to suppose that the effects of the hallucinations on 
the percipients, in the three cases given above, were due to other than 
mental causes. 

1 Dr. Hack Tuke, The Intlnence of the Mind upon the Bodtj, Vol. II., p. 35. 
- Bevuc de I' Ht/pnotismc, June 1800, p. 361. 
3 See Proceedings S.P.R., Vol. VII., p. 330. 
An Experimental Study in Hypnotism, by Dr. R. von Krafft-Ebing, translated 
by C. G. Chattock, M.D., New York, 1889. 


Death- Coincidences. 


Chapter XII. 


In the preceding chapters we have had occasion to consider, in con- 
nection with the facts reported to us, various causes of hallucinations 
recognised in the ordinary scientific treatment of the subject. We 
now pass to examine the evidence for the opei'ation of a cause not so 
recognised, namely, Telepathy. To put it otherwise, we pass from the 
study of merely subjective hallucinations, in order to concentrate our 
attention on those which appear to have a veridical character. 

By veridical hallucinations we mean those which, either from the 
ideas involved in them, or from the time at which they occur, or both, 
can only be accounted for on the hypothesis that impressions or impulses 
have reached the percipient's mind otherwise than through the 
recognised channels of sense. 

As we have pointed out in Chapter I., a certain number of cases 
which would prima facie appear to have this character would occur 
by chance, and merely be " extraordinary coincidences " without 
significance ; accordingly, from the point of view of psychical research, 
the most important object of a statistical enquiry like the present is 
to decide whether the number of prima facie veridical cases is more 
than chance will account for or not. In the present and following chap- 
ters, we shall be chiefly engaged in examining this question, in the 
light of the evidence furnished by our Census. 

The hallucinations which have a prima facie claim to be regarded 
as veridical may be divided into three classes. The first is the class 
in which the hallucination coincides in time with an external event 

in such a way as to suggest a causal connection between them, 

as when an apparition is seen by B at the time when A, at a dis- 
tance, is trying telepathically to make him see one, or when the 
apparition of a dying person is seen at the time of his death. The 
second is the class in which some information pre^dously unknown 
to the percipient is conveyed to him through the hallucination. These 
two classes often overlap, as when a hallucination coinciding in time 
with a death distinctly conveys the information that the death has 
occurred (see, for instance, No. 425. 12, p. 211; No. 381.4, p. 214; No. 
579.24, p. 223), or when an apparition represents some actual charac- 
teristics of the dress or appearance of the dying person which was 
unknown to the percipient (as in Xo. 571.14, p. 237 ; Xo. 147.23, p. 
218). The third class consists of "collective" hallucinations; that 
is, hallucinations occurring simultaneouslj- to two or more persons, 
which cannot be traced to sensory suggestion from the same ex- 

208 Report on the Census of Hallucinations. [chap. 

ternal cause, and cannot Ije explained as transferred from one 
percipient to the other through suggestion by word or gesture. 

In this and the next chapter we shall confine our attention to a 
selected portion of the first of these classes. This restriction is 
necessary, since, in order to ascertain whether thei'e are veridical 
hallucinations which chance will not account for, we have to select a 
coincidence between two quite definite events, and see how often it 
would occur by chance, and how often it actually does occur. The 
coincidence most suited to our requirements occurs among veridical 
hallucinations of the first class, and is that of a i-ecognised apparition 
occurring at the time of the death of the pei'son represented by it — a 
kind of coincidence which has the further advantage of being far 
the most numerous in our collection. 

We have further to define exactly what we mean by "coinciding." 
"We propose to take the same limits of time as are adopted in Phantasms 
of the Livhig and to call an apparition " coincidental " when it occurs on 
the same day as the death — that is, within twelve hours either before or 
after it.^ The reason for selecting these particular limits is the con- 
venience of calculation. We shall accordingly speak of a coincidence 
of this kind as a "death-coincidence." We propose in this chapter to 
discuss the death-coincidences reported to us, and in the next to consider 
whether they can be accounted for by chance. 

The number of alleged death-coincidences (in the sense just defined) 
among the first-hand cases included in our Tables is 80, of which 70 
were realistic apparitions, 6 incompletely developed apparitions, and 4 
visions.^ This does not include cases in which the death was known to 
the percipient when he saw the apparition (of which there are 7 
within the prescribed time limit) — nor does it include a case in 
which the percipient was in the next room to the dying niece whose 
apparition she saw at the moment of death, since some sound may 
possibly have suggested that the death was taking place. Strictly 
.speaking, these eight cases no doubt come within the definition of 
death-coincidences adopted, but it is obviously Ijetter to limit 
ourselves to cases in which the death was not known, because the 
knowledge — or rather the emotions attending it — might in some 
cases be the cause of the hallucination, and in any case would be 
likely to influence its form.^ 

1 The explanation of the inclusion of apparitions seen after death, as a part of 
the evidence for telepathy, will be given in Chapter XVII. 
For an explanation of these terms, see pp. 50-1. 

3 We have also omitted 7 cases which may have been death-coincidences, but in 
which the percipients seem uncertain as to the closeness of the coincidence ; and it 
should be mentioned that we have counted as one only, a death-coincidence 
in which two percipients included in the Census shared the experience. Such cases 
are, as explained at p. 51, foot-note, counted once for each percipient in the general 




Further, to avoid complication, we do not intend to use for pur- 
poses of calculation cases occurring to percipients who have experienced 
other hallucinations, some of which were, or may have been, appari- 
tions of living persons, of which they have not reported to us the exact 
number ; nor experiences of children under ten. Of the first of these 
classes there are 7, and of the second, 8 death coincidences. We do 
not exclude these cases because we think them unlikely to be telepathi- 
cally caused. On the contrary, the experiences of percipients who 
have had frequent hallucinations which they believe to be veridical, 
like Mrs. McAlpine (Iso. 458. 9, see pp. 278-282, where one of the 
excluded experiences will be found), require special consideration in 
estimating the whole evidence for telepathy. But in this chapter, we 
are considering a limited class of cases with a view to numerical 

After making these reductions, we have 65 alleged death-coinci- 
dences to deal with. Before, however, we examine these coincidences 
in detail, there is another question to consider : — the question, namely, 
whether a disproportionate number of alleged death-coincidences has 
been introduced into our collection by collectoi's seeking after particular 
kinds of answers. The precautions taken to guard against this source 
of error, and its possible effect on the whole collection, have already 
been discussed (see pp. 57-60). We saw there that either the effect is 
insignificant, or the cases illegitimately introduced ai'e balanced by those 
which from reserve or other causes are left out. But though Selection 
— as we there called it — has thus had little effect on the whole, it does 
not follow that it has not disproportionately affected death- coincidences. 
As before observed, it would affect hallucinations regarded as interest- 
ing more than others, and death-coincidences are so regarded. This 
is indicated by their being, as we shall presently show, better recol- 
lected than the average of hallucinations ; and further evidence is 
afforded by the compai-atively large proportion of such cases stated 
by our collectors to have been previously known to them, — for, generally 
speaking, cases thought interesting are those that will be talked of 
and therefore known. About Hi per cent, of the recognised appari- 
tions of living persons ^ (including visions and incompletely developed 
hallucinations) in our collection are stated by the collectors to have 
been previously known to them, and it is a striking fact that not much 
less than half of these known cases — 22 out of 50 — are death-coinci- 

Tables, but for the present purpose the case in question should, we think, be 
counted once only, because, however genuinely collective the hallucination may have 
been, it could not be assumed that it was caused in more than one percipient by the 
death (see discussion on collective cases, Chapter XV). 

1 The percentage given on p. 68 is here slightly increased by including appari- 
tions other than realistic. 


210 Report on the Census of Hallucinations. [chap. 

dences. In other words, about 25 ^ per cent, of the death-coincidences 
are stated to have been previously known to the collectors, and only 
about 8 per cent, of all the other recognised apparitions of living 

This disproportion renders it practically certain that errors due ta 
any desire of collectors to obtain affirmative answers will have dispro- 
portionately affected death-coincidences. We cannot estimate exactly 
the amount of error thus introduced : for, on the one hand, our 
returns as to answers known beforehand are incomplete, and on the 
other, answers known beforehand are by no means necessarily selected ; 
they would often have been collected whether previously known or 
not. But we have obtained definite information with regard to a 
considerable number of cases, and, on the basis of this, we are able 
to form an approximate estimate of the influence of selection on 
the remainder. 

Of the 65 first-hand death-coincidences with which we are now 
dealing, 19 were known beforehand to the collector, 26 were not known, 
and of the remaining 20, we have no adequate means of judging 
whether they were known or not. Of the 19 which were known 
beforehand, we have good ground in 5 (including 1 experience of 
the collector himself) for confidence that the percipients would have 
been asked the question in any case. In 3, on the other hand, we 
have evidence that they were specially selected. In the remaining 
11, we have no reason to suspect them of having been selected, but we 
cannot feel sure that they were not.- The possible influence of 
selection is therefore limited to 34 cases out of the 65 : the exact 
allowance to be made for it we propose to estimate at a later stage.^ 
Meanwhile the 3 cases known to be selected should, we think, be ex- 
cluded at once. They are Nos. 61. 6, 301. 6, and 350. 1, and will be 
found in Chapter XIV. pp. 252-4. 

Deducting these, we are left with 62 alleged death- coincidences, 
which must be considered in detail in order to judge how far their 
character as death-coincidences is established, and what proportion of 
them we ought to count. There are two questions to ask about each 
case. (1) Have we good reason to believe that the apparition really 
occurred within 12 hours of the death ? (2) Have we good reason to 
believe that it was recognised before the death was known, and not 

1 This number is calculated on all tlie alleged death-coincidences, inchiding expe- 
riences under the age of 10, and those which were experienced by persons who have 
had unenuraerated liallucinations, and also eight second-hand cases ; in all 88 cases. 

- The information that we possess as to whether any case which we have printed 
was kno^v^l to the collector beforehand or not, is given at the end of the case. 

3 See p. 243. 


Death- Coincidences. 


merely, having been unrecognised at the time, assumed afterwards to 
have represented the decedent because of the coincidence? 

Exaggeration of the closeness of coincidence may occur in two ways : 
(a) from a tendency of the memory to simplify the phenomenon by 
placing both the striking events on one day [cf. Phantasms of the 
Livuig, Vol. I., pp. 140—1-12) ; and (6) from a mistake having from 
the iirst been made as to the date of one or other event. We have 
met with an example of the error occurring in each of these ways in 
the course of the present collection.^ 

Of the second kind of error, by which an unrecognised figure 
is afterwards remembered as a recognised one, we have no proved 
instances ; nor had Mr. Gurney when Phmitasms of the Living was 
written (see that work. Vol. I., p. 137). Still it is an error respect- 
ing which we ought to be on our guard. 

The best guarantee against both kinds of exaggeration is a written 
note of the hallucination made before the death was known. Such a 
note is stated to have been made in only six cases, which we now pro- 
ceed to quote. In only one of them has the note been preserved, 
and then only in an ambiguous form, but in three others (Nos. 425. 12, 
381.4, and 147.23), there is evidence, independently of the percipient's 
memory, that the note was made at the time. 

The cases are arranged in chronological order — ^the most recent one 
first — the dates being reckoned according to the intei'val between the 
experience and the time when the percipient answered the Census ques- 
tion. None of these six cases were known to the collector beforehand. 

(425. 12.) From Mr. S. Walker- Anderson. ^ 

Tickhill, near Bawtry, Yorks., June 12th, 1891. 

"An auiit of mine, who died in England last November, 1890 . . . 
appeared before me in Australia, and I knew before I received the letter of 

1 In the first of the examples here referred to, the case was not an alleged death- 
coincidence in the sense we are now using the word, since the figure was not recog- 
nised. In the later version of the story, written in answer to the Census question 
and three or four years after the experience, the apparition is said to have occurred 
within twelve hours of the death (which was that of a stranger lodging in the same 
ho>ise as the percipient), and before the percipient had heard of it. We found, how- 
ever, that we had in the archives of the Society an account at second-hand, but which 
we had good reason to regard as correct, of the same incident, written about a month 
after its occurrence. This account stated that the apparition was seen a week after 
the death. The other example referred to is No. 656.2(5, quoted on p. 370. Here the 
apparition occurred before the news of the death was received, but when the witness 
was examined, it became clear that the news must have taken considerably longer to 
travel than the interval between the hallucination and the receipt of the letter, and 
that the belief in the simultaneity of the two events probably arose from ignerance 
of this fact. 

^ For another experience of the same percipient, see p. 382. 

p 2 

212 Report on the Census of Hallucinations. [chap. 

her death that she was dead. I took a note of [it] at the time, and found 
on comparing notes that she appeared to me the day she died — date, 
November 21st, 1890." 

Mrs. Anderson writes : — 

February, 1892. 

' ' I remember perfectly well my husband telling me of the apparition of 
his aunt ; he also made a note of the date, and when we had news of her 
death, I remember comparing the two dates." 

Professor Sidgwick, who had two interviews with Mr. Anderson, gives 
the following accounts, written from notes taken at the time : — 

December mh, 1891. 

"Yesterday afternoon I met Mr. S. Walker- Anderson and had some con- 
versation with him about the apf)arition seen by him in Australia. 

" He told me that it occurred on the night of November 17th (not 21st, as 
given in the pajDer communicated), 1890. He had gone to bed early, 8.30 or 
a little later ; and between 9 and 12 he woke up and saw the figure of his 

aunt, Mrs. P , standing with her arms down near the foot of the bed 

at one side, dressed in an ordinary black dress such as he had seen her in 
many times. She looked older and stouter than when he last saw her three 
years before. She seemed to speak, i.e., he saw the lips move, though 
he heard no sound ; and he seemed to catch that she meant ' good-bye. ' 
Then the figure gradually vanished. They had a lamp in the room. He is 
convinced that he was fully awake. He was not anxious about her, having 
had no letters to say that she was seriously ill, though he knew she was not 
very well. She used to write to him about once in two months, and he to 
her somewhat oftener. 

" In the early morning he told his wife, ' I have seen AuntP -who said 

" good-bye " ; I am sure she is dead ; we will take a note.' So he put down 

on a piece of paper, ' I believe Aunt P died on the 17th, ' and put the 

paper in a drawer. ^ He knows it was before 12 o'clock that he had the 
vision, because he used to get up at midnight to give the child something. 
Then in due time an English paper gave the news of his aunt's death with 
date, November 17th. Afterwards a letter came from his mother with the 
same information ; and when he came home lie ascertained that his aunt 
had died about 11 a.m. on that day. 

" He remembers distinctly that it was on a Moiidcuj ; but he and his wife 
had disagreed about the day of the month. It was, I understood, ascertained 
to be the 17th, by ascertaining that to be the Monday. [November 17th, 
1890, was a Monday.] 

' ' This was the only time that he had had an apparition of this aunt. The 
figure seemed quite solid and lifelike. It lasted, say, 20 seconds. He sat 
up in bed and thought for a moment or two tliat it liad been his aunt in the 
flesh. He did not wake his wife at once, but told her in the early morning." 

March 20th, 1892. 
"Yesterday I called on Mr. Anderson, and questioned him about the 
•discrepancy of dates. He said that his mentioning the 21st was due to an 

1 " The paper, he told me, was destroyed when they left Australia. — H. S." 




accidental lapse of memory. Mrs. Anderson, whom I saw and questioned, 
said that she had always remembered the day as the 17th. She clearly 
remembered his speaking to her of his vision at breakfast next morning, and 

saying, 'I am perfectly sure Aunt P is dead,' and adding, ' I will make 

a note of it.' She remembers that she made a note of it herself in a diary 
that she kept, and that after the letter arrived in December announcing 
his aunt's death, she referred to the diary and found it confirmed tlieir 
recollection as to the coincidence of the dates. 

" H. SiDGWICK." 

We have verified the date of Mrs. P 's death. 

Mr. Anderson does not mention in what part of Australia he was then 
living, buc Melbourne time is about 9 hours 40 minutes earlier than Green- 
wich, so that, if he was in about the same longitude as Melbourne, the 
death would have preceded the apparition by two or three hours. 
This case was not known to the collector beforehand- 
It will be noticed in the above case that the apparent saying of 
"good-bye" by the figure amounted to an intimation of the death; 
so that the evidential character of the case depends on more than 
the mere coincidence. 

(442. 17.) From Miss L. B. 

September, 1893. 

"At the end of August of the year 1882, my father, mother, and sisters 
left home for our usual summer holiday. [At] the same time a young man 
whom we knew quite slightly (although he was our neighbour) started to 
Texas to learn farming, for which I felt sorry, because I was looking forward 
to paint well enough by my return to ask him to sit for the principal figure 
in a picture I was longing to do. 

" We went to a cottage in Gloucestershire, where my sister and I shared 
the same room. About the 14tli of September, 1882, my sister and I felt 
worried and distressed by hearing the ' Death Watch ' ; it lasted a whole day 
and night. We got up earlier than usual the next morning, about six o'clock, 
to niiish .some birthday presents for our mother. As my sister and I were 
working and talking together, I looked up, and saw our young acquaintance 
standing in front of me and looking at us. I turned to my sister, she saw 
nothing ; I looked again to where he stood, he had vanished. We agreed 
not to tell anyone — and, although I wished to put it down in my diary 
(which I had not kept for some time), I was afraid to do so ; I therefore 
made marks to remind myself. 

" Some time afterwards we heard that our young acquaintance had either 
committed suicide or had been killed ; he was found dead in the woods 
twenty-four hours after landing. 

" On looking back to my diary, 1 found that my marks corresponded to 
the date of his death." 

(This account was enclosed in a letter dated September 7th, 1893. Miss 

B , however, answered the Census question in the middle of 1891, so 

that the experience is reckoned as having occurred nine years ago. ) 


Report on the Census of HalUicinations. [chap. 

Mr. Podinore called on Miss B. and her sister on April 8th, 1893, and 
gives the following account of his interview. 

AprU lOtK 1893. 

"In September, 1882, Miss L. B. and Miss B. occupied the same room. 
They had got up early to work; at a present for their mother's birthday, 
October 4th (I saw the cushion actually worked on that occasion in crewels). 
Miss L. B. saw a momentary vision, near the washstand, of A. L., a young 

man who had left B a few weeks before for Texas. She made a note of 

it and found later that A. L. had been murdered in Texas the same day. 

"A.L. (age about 19) was barely an acquaintance of Miss L.B. 's (she was 
only about 14). But she, an artist student, had wanted to get him some 
time to ' sit ' for her. They had probably not spoken to each other more 
than once or twice. 

" Miss L. B. mentioned the vision at the time to her sister. In Miss 
B.'s diary for that year apjoears an entry on September 15th, 1882 : 
' Up at 6.30 a.m. working at present.' Miss L. B.'s diary for 1882 was 
found ; the latter part of the year consists almost entirely of blank pages, 
with a few cryptogram marks. Under September 14th, 15th, and 16th 
respectively, appear the marks /'\ , + , x . The succeeding days are blank 
in the diary for some time. 

" Miss L. B. did not mention the incident to her parents for some 
years. In conversation with me. Miss B. fully corroborated what Miss 
L. B. had said." 

Neither Miss L. B. nor her sister could remember the exact date of the 
death, but they informed us that it had been announced in the Strmdard. 
From the Standard of October 9th, 1882, we afterwards found that the 
death occurred on September 14th, 1882. 

It will be seen that the marks in the diary do not clearly indicate 
whether the apparition was seen on September 14t]i, 15th, or ICth. 
The probability that September 14th was the day, is, however, 
strongly supported : first, by the recollection of both sisters that they ascer- 
tained the coincidence when they first heard the news of tlie death, and 
when, no doubt, Miss L. B. would have remembered the exact meaning of 
all the marks in her diary, which she now forgets ; and, secondly, by the 
expressions used in her account, which seem to imply that the entry relating 
to the apparition was the f rst one made after some interval. 

This case was not known to the collector beforehand. 

Miss B. has had two other experiences which may have been 
liallucinatory, one auditory and one visual. It is worth noting that 
her father, mother, and sister have all had hallucinations. An 
apparently veridical experience of her mother's is quoted in Chapter 
XVII., p. 371. 

(381. 4.) From Mrs. J. P. Smith. 

Amble, Northumberland, Janvxij-y 17 tli, 1891. 

" In June, 1879, I was a teacher in Macclesfield. A friend, Mrs. , was 

near lier confinement. She told me she was afraid she would die. I went into 
the county of Durham for a holiday. While there I was roused from sleep by 




Mrs. as I supposed. She was shaking nie, and saying, ' I have parsed 

away, but the baby will live.' Then the figure left the room by the door. I 
got out of bed and went to my sister and related the incident. We agreed to 
make a note of it. Next day I received a letter from a friend in Macclesfield 
saymg that Mrs. was dead but the baby was alive. 

" [I was] in the best of health and about 29 years of age. 

"No other persons were present." 

Mrs. Smith, who is the mistress of the Infants' School at Amble, informs 
us that this is the only experience of the kind she has ever had, and that 
to the best of her recollection the apparition was seen about an hour or two 
after the death. 

Unfortunately, neither the note made at the time nor the letter announc- 
ing the death has been preserved, but we have received the following letter 
of corroboration from Mrs. Smith's sister : — 

"203, Elswick-street, Leichhardt, Sydney, Australia, November 2nd, 1891. 

" I distinctly remember my sister coming into my room and waking me up 
to tell me of her dream, which was as follows : — 

' ' That she had dreamt that a lady friend of hers some miles away had 
appeared to her and said she was dead ; but that her baby would live. The 
dream had evidently impressed my sister very much, as she seemed quite 
.■agitated, and we said we would note it down, and to our utter astonishment 
the next morning my sister received a letter to say that her friend had passed 
away that same night. "Annie Beown." 

It will be observed that Mrs. Smith's experience is here referred to as a 
dream. That this is not her own view of it appears from the following 
account given by Professor and Mrs. Sidgwick of an interview which they 
Lad with her on September 16th, 1891. The account was written within 
two hours of their seeing Mrs. Smith, from notes made at the time. 

"The figure appeared twice on the same night. The first time was in 
the breaking dawn of a June morning, before there was any sun. It woke 
her, and she heard tlie words she mentions, but she did not get out 
of bed, and was probably only half awake. The second time the same 
thing happened, but she is quite sure she was awake. It appeared at the 
left hand side of her bed, and, after speaking, it moved very quickly round 
the bed and apparently through the door, which was at the right hand side 
of the bed parallel to the head and liidden by the curtains, so that she did 
not see it go out. The figure went as if in a great hurry. It seemed to be 
dressed in drab ; the face was seen — it seemed exactly as in life. She felt 
no fear, nor sense of the supernatural — only anxiety to question further — 
and regarded it as real until, running after the figure downstairs, she became 
•convinced that it was a vision. She felt as she ran as though she would 
have caught it up, had she not had to open the door. It was about 5 o'clock 
when she went to her sister, which she did at once after the second vision. 

Mrs. had told her she thought she should not live, but Mrs. Smith had 

thought little of this, and it had quite passed out of her mind. She was 

in no anxiety. Mrs. was no special friend of hers. Her children came 

to Mrs. Smith's school, and she was interested in them. She did not know 

why Mrs. should have told her of her expectation of dying ; but she 

said at the same time, ' If I go, you will be very kind to my children. ' 

216 Report on the Census of Hallucinations. [chap. 

The friend who wrote telling her of the death mentioned it casually — 
especially as sad because of the young children. She mentioned the time as 
in the early hours of the morning, and it struck Mrs. Smith when she got 
the letter that the vision had been coincident with the death, but she did 
not verify this by ascertaining the exact time of the death. 

"Mrs. Smith told us that when she communicated what she had seen to 
her sister, the latter said it must have been just a very vivid dream, to 
which she replied, 'Well, it was a very vivid one, then,' or words to that 

This case was not known to the collector beforehand. 

This is another case where there is more than a mere coincidence, 
since information as to the death was given and also as to the 
survival of the baby. It perhaps adds to the force of the evidence for 
telepathy here, that the dying mother is likely, from the circumstances, 
of the case, to have had Mrs. Smith specially in her mind at the time 
of the death. 

In the following case also there seems to have been a definite in- 
timation of the death. 

(383. 24.) From Mr. James Lloyd. 

3, The Grove, Adderley-road, Saltley, Birmingham, February 10th, 1891. 

"[I] was in India. [I] awoke in the night [and] saw my father iiii 
England, standing beside the bed. He was as real as in life, and dressed 
in a gi'ey suit such as he used to wear when I last saw him about 
nine years before. The figui'e said, ' Good-bye, Jim ; I won't see you 
any more,' or words to that effect. A month after that (the first mail I 
could have heard by) a letter came, saying he had died that same night, and 
about that hour — September Idth, 1876. I was a soldier at Mhow, in Bom- 
bay Presidency. What hour the vision appeared, [I] did not know. In the 
morning [I] told a comrade who slept in the next room. 

"I wrote it on the wall at the back of my bed at the same time, so as to- 
fix the date." 

Mr. Lloyd was 27 at the time, and was in good health, and in no anxiety 
about his father. 

Mr. Myers called on him on December 18th, 1891, and writes : — 

December 19th, 1891. 

" I saw Mr. Lloyd yesterday. He seems a straightforward man. 

" I saw Mrs. Lloyd separately. The apparition occurred before their- 
marriage, but she said that she had heard her husband tell the story 
frequently since her first knowledge of him. 

' ' Mr. Lloyd said that he wished to correct the date from September 
14th to November 9th, 1876. He was in the 3rd King's Own Hussars." 

" P.S. — Mr. Lloyd has sent me a funeral card, which shows that James. 
Lloyd died November 9th, 1876 ; interred at Saltley." 

This case was not known to the collector beforehand. 




The following case is classed as a vision. 
(362. 21.) From Mrs. Baldwin. 

November IWi, 1890. 
"I was my Uncle E. de C.'.s favourite niece, and we had made a 
compact that whichever of us died first should appear to the other. I was 
about 2.5 at the time, and lie said to me, ' You won't be afraid, but, if God 
permits such a thing, I will come to you.' This took place at Camareah, in 
1860. I was then a widow, living at my uncle's house. It was in December 
1863 (I had married again, and was living at Umritsur), when one morning 
at about 4 o'clock, as I was sitting up in bed with my baby in my arms, I saw 
my uncle. He was lying on the sofa in the drawing-room and appeared to 
be dying. I also saw his bearer and my Aunt's ayah. They passed each 
other in going across the room, and looked at me and sighed. I said to my 
husband, 'Look, there is my uncle dying,' and I described the above 
scene. He thought it so remarkable that he got out of bed and made a note 
of it. He wrote at once to my cousin C, to inquire after uncle and we 
heard from him that my uncle had died very suddenly, on the day and at 
the time I saw him, of lieart disease, after an illness of a few days, at his 
house at Mirzapore. " G. Adeline Baldwin." 

Mrs. Baldwin writes further : — 

' ' Camareah is between AUahabad and Benares, about 30 miles from the 

" Mr. E. de C. was not failing in liealth prior to his sudden death, and did 
not even know he had heart disease. 

"I saw the drawing-room distinctly, with my uncle lying on the sofa. 
The room was at his own house. 

"The note that was made at the time, and the letter from my cousin, 
which my husband received in answer to inquiries, were unfortunately 
destroyed by white ants. [Mrs. Baldwin informed us in conversation 
that the white ants had also destroyed documents of greater importance 
to her.] 

" I have quite lost sight of my cousin, and do not even know where he is 
likely to be found." 

" With regard to the mode of my micle's death it happened just as I 
saw it, inasmuch as he died in the drawing-room on the sofa ; tlie ayah and 
bearer were present ; all this my husband wrote and ascertained. The sofa 
was placed in a different piosition to what it had been when I was last in the 

Mrs. Sidgwick writes : — 

January 3rd, 1891. 
" I have just had a long interview with Mrs. and Miss Baldwin. Miss 
Baldwin tells me that she first heard the account from her father when she 
was about 16 or 17. He died in 1880. (She was the baby who was in Mrs. 
Baldwin's arms at the time of the vision.) Her father was much impressed 
with it. According to her recollection, the actual position of the sofa where 
the uncle died was not ascertained, but Mrs. Baldwin is clear on this point. 
He did die on the sofa, and facing the door, which was not the usual position 


Report on the C'ensios of Hallucinations. [chap. 

of tlie sofa. The ayah and bearer were tlie only j^eople with him, as his 
wife had gone to rest. Mrs. Baldwin says that her uncle seemed to look at 
her and sigh, and so did the ayah and Ijearer. They would both have known 
of her uncle's attachment to her. She saw some details but not others, 
does not know how her uncle was dressed, but noticed a jDlate of fruit on a shelf 
(not, I think, verified). The house was well known to her. She was not at 
all aware of her uncle's illness. 

" She made some notes of the visioti of her uncle some years ago, from 
which she wrote her account, but she is not sure when tlie notes were 
made — certainly since her husband's death in 1880. 

' ' The duration of Mrs. Baldwin's vision of her uncle can only be guessed 
at. Slie had time to rouse her husband and to say, ' Loo'k, there's uncle — 
he's dying,' for liim tn say he saw nothing, and for lier to describe what 
she saw." 

In this case also definite information is conveyed, but pictorially, 
and with more detail than in the cases before quoted. It is also 
interesting as being one of the three apparitions at the time of death, 
in connexion with which, as we are told, a compact had been made to 
appear, if possible. 

(147. 23.) From Madame Obalechefl. 

(The account is translated from the original Russian by Mr. A. Aksakoff.) 

" V. de Tver, le 27 Mars, 1891. 

"Apparition de mon beau-frere (le mari de ma soeur), Nicolas Nilovitch 
^ikoff, que je vis dans I'etat de veille a Odessa en 1861, le 17 Janvier, a H 
heures du soir — le jour et a I'lievn-e meme de sa mort, qui eut lieu a Tver. 

"Je ne dormais pas et me sentais tout-a-fait bien portante. Dans la 
chambre oil je me trouvais briilait une lanipe d'image et, en outre, una 
bougie sur la table pres de mon lit. A cote, par terre, dormait ma domestique 
• — une tille ci-devant serve, que j 'avals emmenee de Tver, et qui connaissait 
parfaitement mon beau-frere. II y avait deux portes dans la chambre : I'une 
d'elles, conduisant au salon, se trouvait non loin du chevet de mon lit ; 
quant a I'autre, qui conduisait dans la chambre contigue, je la voyais juste 
devant moi, etant couchee ou assise dans mon lit. Entendant les pleurs de 
mon tils, alors age d'un mois, je reveillai la domestique et lui ordonnai de 
me donner I'enfant. Tout a cote de mon lit, pres des coussins, etait place un 
fauteuil, sur le bras duquel je m'accoudai de la main droite, et, prenant 
I'enfant, je me mis a le nourrir. Mon mari dormait dans la meme chambre, 
et la domestique, apres m'avoir passe I'enfant, s'assit par terre, a cote de 
mon lit, la figure tournee vers le fauteuil, sous lequel elle etendit les pieds. 
Je ne pensais alors qu'a mon tils, couche dans mes bras. Levant par hasard 
les yeux sur la porte, que j'avais devant moi, je vis entrer lentement mon 
beau-frere en pantouffles et en robe de chambre de bayette a carreaux, que 
je ne lui avals jamais vue (plus tard, ayant pris des informations la-dessus, 
j'appris qu'elle n'avait ete faite qu'une semaine avant sa mort, et qu'il 
i'avait sur lui en mourant). S'approchant du fauteuil, sur les bras duquel il 


Beath-Coinci den ces. 


s'appuya, il enjambea les pieds de la domestique, qui se trouvaic la, et s'assit 
dans le fauteuil lentement. En ce moment la pendule de la chambre sonna 
11 heui'es. Bien sure de voir distinctement mon beau-frere, je m'adressai 
a la domestique avec la question suivante : — ' Tu vois, Claudine ? ' mais je 
ne nommai pas mon beau-frere. La-dessus, la domestique, tremblant de 
frayeur, me repondit immediatement : — ' Je vois Nicolas Nilovitcli ' (le nom 
de mon beau-frere). A ces paroles, mon beau-frere se leva lentement, 
enjambea de nouveau les pieds etendus de Claudine et, se tournant, disparut 
derriere la porte, qui conduisait au salon. Cette ajjparition ne m'efFraya 
nullement, mais je reveillai immediatement mon mari, en le priant de 
prendre une bougie et d'aller voir le salon. Mon mari se rendit a ma jDriere, 
et apres avoir visite la chambre attentivement, il retourna, disant qu'il n'y 
avait trouve personne. Alors meme, je lui dis, que sflrement mon beau- 
frere venait de mourir a Tver, et, comme nous nous aimions sincerement, il 
sera certainement venu pour prendre conge. En eflet, tout cela se contirma 
par une nouvelle, arrivee de Tver, et annon^ant que mon beau-frere y mourut 
justement le 17 Janvier, 1861, a 11 heures du .soir. 

"De retour d'Odessa a Tver, il m'arriva un jour de causer de cette appa- 
rition avec le prieur de I'eglise de Notre Dame St. Vladimir, I'archipretre 
Vladislavlew, qui, de mon consentement, publia ce recit dans la gazette du 
diocese de Tver. 

" AiM^E TICHONO^VNA Obalecheff (Veuve de conseiUer de college)." 

Attestation de la veiice de Mr. Nicolas Zikoff. 

" Je certifie ci-dessous, que quoique la lettre de ma soeur, Aimee Ticho- 
nowna Obalecheff, par laquelle elle me communiquait I'apparition de mon 
mari, qu'elle avait vu dans I'etat de veille, soit deja egaree, je sais pour sur 
qu'elle avait exjaedie cette lettre, avant que je lui eus envoye la mienne avec 
la nouvelle de la mort de mon mari, qui coincida avec le jour et I'heure 
meme de I'apparition. Nous tardions de lui faire part de notre chagrin, en 
vue de ses couches, craignant de Tefirayer par cette nouvelle. Ce n'est 
qu'apres avoir reiju sa lettre au sujet de I'apparition, que nous nous decidames 
de confirmer sa supposition sur la mort de mon mari. La robe de chambre 
decrite par ma sceur, et dans laquelle lui etait apparu mon mari, etait 
identique a celle qu'il avait en mourant, et qui a eie faite peu avant sa mort; 
de sorte que ma soeur, Obalecheff, ne I'avait jamais vue avant. A son 
retour a Tver je lui montrai cette robe de chambre, et elle confirma que 
c'etait la meme qu'elle avait vue sur le defunt apparu. 

"Elisabeth Tichonowna Zikoff (Veuve de lieutenant)." 
This case was not known to the collector beforehand. 

In this case, as in the last, the appearance includes a veridical 
feature unknown to the percipient, but not one of any interest 
either to her or to the dying man : — viz : the dressing gown. The un- 
importance of this detail in itself does not, of course, affect its import- 


Report on the Census of Hallitcinations. [chap. 

ance as evidence of the operation of some supernormal faculty. Another 
point of interest in the case is that the hallucination appears to have 
been shared by a second person. The special questions raised by this 
sharediiess or " collectivity " of hallucinations will be discussed in 
Chapter XV. 

This completes the death-coincidences about which it is stated 
that a note was made at the time. 

The importance and value of contemporary documentary evidence 
for telepathy was first pointed out in Phantasms of the Living (Vol. I. 
pp. 134-147), and has been constantly and emphatically reiterated 
by those who are working at psychical research, with the result that, 
in addition to what existed at tlie time Pliantasms of the Living was 
written, the amount of it has since been steadily, though slowly 
accumulating. 1 Some of the critics of the Society's work have assumed 
that in a large proportion, probably about one in seven, of the cases- 
where a sensory hallucination is expei'ienced, the percipient would at 
once write a letter on the subject to some friend, and that letters con- 
taining such accounts would, in general, be carefully preserved. They 
have accordingly maintained that the absence of documentary evidence 
in the gt"eat majority of cases constitutes a positive argument 
against the telepathic explanation. The force of this argument 
depends, of course, primarily on the frequency with which contem- 
porary notes of possibly telepathic incidents are made. We have 
therefore endeavoured to obtain information as to the cases in which 
any notes were taken at the time of the hallucinatory experience. 
From the information received, it appears that in 49 out of the 
1942 cases recorded, that is, in 2 '5 per cent, some note was made, or 
some letter mentioning the hallucination written, within 24 hours 
of the occurrence, and before knowing whether it was coincidental 
or not, either by the percipient himself, or by some person who was 
told of it at the time. We have included in the 49 some cases in 
which it is not quite certain from the expressions used whether our 
informant meant that he had made a W7'itten or a mental note of 
his experience, in order to obtain an outside estimate of the number 
of cases in which contemporary documentary evidence of any kind 
ever existed. 

1 A discussion of the state ot the evidence on this subject two years ago, with a 
selection of cases received since the publication of Phantasms of the Living^ is to be 
found in an article by Mr. Podmore, " In Defence of Phantasms," in the National 
Revieio for April, 1892. 

- There is also an auditory case not coming within the scope of the Census ques- 
tion, but printed below, No. 105. 1 (see p. 291), in which we have documentary evi- 
dence and a few other non- veridical "non-Census " cases were, we are told, noted at 
the tiine. These are not included in the following Table. 

Death-Coincidences. 221 

The following is an analysis of the 49 cases : — 

Number of Hallucinations 
about which Notes were made. 

Kind of Hallucinations. 


with other 



Apparitions of recognised living \ 
persons ... ■■. ■■■ 1 





Apparitions of recognised dead ) 
persons ... • • ■ ■ • • J 




Other visual hallucinations 




Auditory hallucinations 





Tactile hallucinations 









"Where no information is given on the subject, it is generally 
probable that no written record was made at the time ; and a positive 
statement to this effect is made in 214 cases. 

It will be observed that a large proportion of the noted cases, 
namely, about one third, are prima facie veridical, which seems to 
show that veridical cases are, on the whole, more impressive at the time 
than subjective ones. It is, of course, only the veridical cases in which 
the documents are of value as evidence for telepathy, but the im- 
portant point to ascertain, in considering how much documentary 
evidence could reasonably be expected to be forthcoming, is, in how 
many cases such documents were written before it was known whether 
there was reason to regard the hallucination as veridical or not. 
"When we consider the very small proportion of adults who keep 
diaries, and the probably still smaller proportion of people who are in 
the habit of making any other written notes, otherwise than in 
letters, about any events in their lives, the small number of notes 
reported is not surprising. With regard to mention in letters, it 
happens often that the percipient is living with the persons to whom, 
if he were living elsewhere, he would most naturally write on the 
subject, and he therefore speaks of his experience and does not write 
of it. It has also to be borne in mind that the great majority of 
educated persons are reasonably afraid of being ridiculed as super- 
stitious if they appear to attach importance to such experiences ; and 
are therefore much more inclined to communicate them orally to sym- 
pathetic auditors, than to narrate them in letters. It follows that 
corroborative evidence depending on some person's recollections of 

222 Report on the Census of Hallucinations. [chap. 

a verljal communication, exists much more often than contemporaiy 
written evidence. We should further expect that, even if the percipient 
did mention his experience in a letter, he would be inclined to put 
off doing so till he had ascertained that there was " something in 
it." Also in a large propoi'tion of the death -coincidences, the news 
of the death is said to have followed the experience after so short 
an interval that any letter telling of the hallucination before the 
percipient received the news would have had to be written very 

As to the preservation of any notes that are made, it must be 
remembered that, as a rule, only a very small proportion of letters 
written on any subject are producible after the lapse of a few yeai's. 
Diaries also are often destroyed after some time, and all kinds of 
papers are liable to be disposed of indiscriminately in the course of 
household removals, and at the death of their owner. 

When the percipient makes a note for himself, he is generally 
simply interested in proving to himself that the hallucination has been 
coincidental. This is done once for all by his comparing it with the 
time of death, when he hears what this is, and — for him — the note is 
aftei'wards almost or quite valueless. In eight cases out of the seven- 
teen, in fact, the percipient tells us that the note was destroyed after the 
coincidence had been verified. It would probably occur to very few 
people — unless they had been convinced of the scientific importance of 
the matter — to keep such a paper for the sake of proving to others 
afterwards that the event had happened to them just at that time. 
Either they would not expect that other people would be sufficiently 
interested to enquire into the matter so minutely, or they would ex- 
pect these others to be their intimate friends or near relatives, who 
were not in the habit of demanding from them written evidence of 
their statements. 

We should, however, expect — and this is what we find has actually 
happened — that in a few cases the percipient who had made a note, 
would keep it for himself as a memento of an important or striking 
event in his life ; and that a certain proportion of the letters 
describing the hallucinations would be considered by their recipients 
sufficiently interesting to be carefully preserved ; or that we might be 
able to trace the answers received by the percipient to these letters, 
which answers, if dated and sufficiently detailed, have practically 
the same evidential value as the original letters. 

Whether the proportion of documentary evidence that has been 
preserved in the coincidental cases is, or is not, smaller than would be 
reasonably expected, we must leave to the judgment of our readers. 
Since the numbers are so small, it will be convenient to summarise 
here the amount of the evidence in the two classes of " death-coinci- 


Death- Coincidences. 


dences " and " coincidences with other events " put together, but it 
of course, be obvious, on referring to each case, to which class it 
belongs. Of the 17 coincidental cases which were noted at the time, 
the note has been seen by us in two cases (No. 442. 17, see p. 213, and 
No. 660. 6, seep. 282) ; in a third case (No. 290. 3, see p. 293) a letter 
which was written in answer to one from the percipient describing her 
expei'ience, and which establishes the coincidence, has been seen by 
us ; in a fourth case (No. 34. 20, see p. 289) we have received a copy of 
a similar letter ; and in five other cases (No. 147. 23, see p. 218 ; 
No. 381. 4, see p. 214 : No. 425. 12, see p. 211 ; No. 78. 16, see p. 299 ; 
No. 458. 9, see p. 279) we have evidence — either from the persons who 
received the letters, or from those who witnessed the making of the 
notes— confirmatory of the percipient's statement that the letters or 
notes were written at the time. 

The next best kind of confirmatory evidence is that alForded by 
the testimony of a second person who has known of the percipient's 
impression at the time, before the arrival of the news of death, and with 
him has been aware of the coincidence as soon as it was ascertained. The 
case then rests on the agreement between the memory of two persons 
instead of on the memory of one, and granting that each memoiy by 
itself may be liable to err, it is unlikely that both would happen to 
have corresponding illusions ; — though it is not impossible that by 
verbal suggestion, some illusion of memory on the part of the second 
witness might be induced, eg., to the effect that he had heard of the 
event at the time, when he had not really heard of it till some time 

The death-coincidences among the 62 with this kind of confirma- 
tion are 10 in number, besides 4 of those we have already quoted. 
We give 9 of them here, in chronological order as before. 

(579. 24.) From Mr. E. A. 

(His original account, written in Russian, was translated into French by the 

collector, Mr. AksakofF.) 

81 Janvier, 1892. St. Petersbourg. 

' ' C'etait a Milan, le 10 (22) Octobre, 1888. Je demeurais a I'hotel Ancora. 
Apres le diner, vers 7 heures, j'etais assis sur le sofa et je lisais une gazette. 
Ma femme se reposait dans la meme chambre sur une couchette, derriere un 
rideau. La chambre etait ^clairee par une lampe placee sur la table, auprJjs 
de laquelle j'etais assis et lisais. Tout-k.-coup je vis sur le fond de la porte, qui 

' A conspicuous instance of a joint illusion of memory was met wth in a story 
which, in the early days of the S.P.R., was published on the authority of two unim- 
peachable witnesses, and had afterwards to be withdrawn on the discovery of 
chronolosrical inconsistencies which made it impossible that the events should have 
occurred as described. But we believe cases of the kind to be rare. 


Report on the Census of Halliocinations. [chap. 

se trouvait en face de nioi, la figure de inon pere ; il etait, coninie tou jours, 
en surtout noir, tres pale, comnie niourant. En ce moment j'entendis tout 
pres de mon oreille une voix qui me disait : ' On apportera une depeche 
que tonpk'e est mort.' Tout cela ne prit que quelques secondes. Je sautai 
sur pied et me precipitai vers ma fcmme, mais pour ne pas I'efFrayer je ne 
lui en dit rien ; pour motiver mon irruption je lui criai : ' Voila, tu ne vois 
pas que la bouilloire a the deborde.' .... Le soir du meme jour, vers les 11 
lieures, nous etions a prendre le thd, en compagnie de plusieurs personnes, 
parmi lesquelles se trouvaient Mme. Y., sa fille, E.Y., ci-devant artiste des 
theatres imperiaux, et Mile. M., demeurant a present a Florence. Tout-a-coup 
on frappe k la porte et le concierge annonce une depeche. Bleme d'emoi, je 
m'ecrie immediatement : ' Je sais, mon pere est mort, j'ai vu.' ... La 
depeche contenait ces mots : 'Papa mort subitement. — Olga.' C'etait une 
depeche de ma sceur vivant a Petersbourg. J'appris plus tard que mon pere 
s'etait suicid(^ le matin du meme jour." 

Temoignage de Mme. A. 
" J'ai ete jjresente a cela, et je temoigne de I'exactitude du recit. 

"W. A." 

Mr. Aksakoff writes : — 

"Mme. et Mile. Y. ne se trouvent pas a. Petersbourg, et oil sont elles 
M. A. ne le salt pas. J'ai vu I'original de la depeche, dont voila la copie : 

" 'Ricevuto il 22, i 1888. Milano, Petersbourg, data 22, i ore e minute, 
■8.40. Papa mort subitement. — Olga.' " 

Milan, i.e., Roman, time is about 70 minutes later than St. Petersburg 
time, so that the apparition occurx-ed about half-an-hour after the despatch of 
the telegram. 

This case was not known to the collector beforehand. 

It is to be observed that this is again a case in which the fact of 
the death is communicated by the hallucination. The same may prac- 
tically be said with regard to the following case, in view of the parting 
words of the friend whose apparition is seen. 

(215. 9.) From Miss J. E. L. 

(The account was written in 1889. ) 

"On June 14th, 1885, while awake, I suddenly saw the figure of a friend 
at the door. She looked very ill, came to me, and bent down and kissed me. 
I got out of bed, looked at the hour ; it was between 6 and 7 o'clock. The 
next day I received news my friend had died at that hour. I was in London 
at the time. I had left home in May, and on saying good-bye to my friend, 
she asked me, should she die while I was away, might she come to me in 
spirit and tell me so ? I said, ' Yes, ' hardly realising what was meant. I 
was in bed, in my usual healtli, and not in grief or anxiety. 

" No [other persons were present at the time]." 

Miss L. informs us that she has had no other experiences of tlie kind. 
J " Le nom du mois (Octobre) est omis par negligence du bureau telegraphique." 


Death - Co incides ices. 


The collector, Miss Finlay, writes, in answer to questions : — " [Miss L.] 
did know that her friend was dying. I may add that I was aware of the 
incident soon after it occurred, and knew about the lady and the circum- 
stances of her death." 

Miss L.'s sister writes : — 

" I remember my sister telling me that her friend had appeared to her in 
the early morning, and when she was told there was a letter from home she 
said, ' Yes, I know that my friend is dead.' " E. M." 

Miss L , who is now in a sisterhood, was unwilling to see a member of 
the Committee on the subject. 

The following, as will be seen, is also a case in which the person 
whose apparition is seen had promised to appear, if possible, to the 

(379. 24.) From the Rev. Matthew Frost. 

■ • Bowers Gilford, Essex, January 30th, 1891. 

"The first Thursday in April, 1881, while sitting at tea with my back to 
the window and talking with my wife in the usual way, I plainly heard a rap 
at the window, and looking round I said to my wife, ' Why, there's my 
grandmother,' and went to the door, but could not see anyone ; and still 
feeling sure it was my grandmother, and knowing, though 83 years of age, 
she was very active and fond of a joke, I went round the house, but could 
not see anyone. My wife did not hear it. On the following Saturday I had 
news my grandmother died in Yorkshire about half an hour before the time 
I heard the rapping. The last time I saw her alive I promised, if well, I 
would attend her funeral ; that [was] some two years before. I was in good 
health [and] had no trouble, [age] 26 years. I did not know that my grand- 
mother was ill." 

Mrs. Frost writes :— January 30th, 1891. 

" I beg to certify that I perfectly remember all the circumstances my 
husband has named, but I heard and saw nothing myself." 

The house (seen by Mrs. Sidgwick) in which Mr. Frost was living when 
the event occurred, stands some way back from the road in a garden, and the 
door into the garden opens out of the sitting-room, so that he must have got 
to the door much too quickly, if he went at once, for anyone to liave got 
away unseen by him. 

Professor Sidgwick, who called on Mr. Frost on June 18th, 1892, gives 
the following account of his interview, written from full notes taken at the 
time ; — 

June 22nd, 1892. 

" Mr. Frost had last seen his grandmother in December, 1878. When he 
said good-bye to her she said that she might never see him again on earth 
and asked him to come to her if she became ill, or if not, to her funeral. 
He promised he would come, and said : ' They tell me that when people die 
they can make it known to those they love. If you die and are happy will 



Report on the Census of Hallucinations. [chap. 

you let me know it '? ' She promised that .she would if she could. She 
had gone through trouble some years before and he had always been very 
fond of her. 

" Mr. was sitting at tea with his back to the window when he heard 
a distinct knocking. He said, ' What's tliat ? ' turned round and saw his 
grandmother. He saw her face (\mie clearly — in tlie bonnet and cape that 
she used to wear, and saw her hand in the attitude of having just tapped at 
the window. Tliis was at Bowers Gifford, between Southend and Pitsea, 
200 to 300 miles from Knottingley, where she lived. His idea was that she 
had taken a journey to surprise him. Slie was an active old lady, 
and an excursion of the kind did not at the time seem surprising to him. 
He thought she had come in this way for a joke, and went at once to the 
door and all round the house, but could find no one. He is quite certain 
that no one could have got away without being seen. It was about 5 o'clock 
in April — full daylight. He remembers the time of year by his having just 
come back from his Easter liolidays, and the time of the day by the fact that 
he was at tea. 

If it had been a real knock and a real person, Mrs. Frost must have 
heard and seen it. He was surprised at her not hearing and seeing, and she 
says tliat she must have done so if a real person had been there, and that she 
would have seen a person coming up the path. As it was, she could not 
understand what was tlie matter. 

" Mr. Frost did not at first regard it as supernatural, but when he came 
back, having found nobody, the explanation that his grandmother was dead 
occurred to liim. Mrs. Frost remembers his saying, ' I should not be 
surprised if my grandmother is dead.' He had heard of things of the kind, 
Init — in spite of the talk with his grandmother — did not really believe in 
them. He has never had any experience of the kind before or since (only 
coincidences of thinking about people just before they appeared, and to this 
he attached no importance), and would have ridiculed the subject five minutes 
before. They had not been talking or thinking about her, and did not know 
she was ill. He certainly would not have gone away for a holiday if he had 
had any idea of being summoned to her bedside. 

" They had news of her death by letter, naming the day and hour. Mrs. 
Frost remembers the letter coming, and that they noticed the coincidence of 
time. Mr. Frost went to tlie funeral, but arrived on the Monday after, his 
grandmother having been buried on Sunday. He saw the coffin, which was 
left in the open grave till he came. 

"I got the information mainly from Mr. Frost when Mrs. Frost was out 
of the room, and then obtained her confirmation by questions afterwards." 

Mr. Frost could not remember the exact date of the death, but enquired 
of his brother, who stated that it was April 21st, 1880. We find, however, 
from the Register, that the true date was Api-il 21st, 1881, and this was, in 
accordance with Mr. Frost's statement in conversation, the first Thursday 
after Easter, 1881, though not, of course, the first Thursday in the month. 

This case was not known to the collector beforehand. 

The next case is a very peculiar one ; since a hallucination shared 
"by seven persons and (apparently) by a dog also is something unique 




in our collection. There seems, however, no reason to doubt that an 
apparition was seen, by the three persons who sign the account, at a 
time approximately coinciding with the death of the child. 

(422. 25.) From Mr. D. Amosof. 

(The account is translated from the original Russian by the collector, Mr. 
Aksakoff. ) 

St. Petersburg, May ith, 1891. 
" Voila le phenomene dont toute notre famille fut tenioin. C'dtait 
a P^tersbourg, en 1880, lorsque nous deiueurions rue Pouchkarska. Par 
une soiree du mois de Mai, vers les 6 heures, ma mere (aujourd'hui Madame 
Teldchof) se trouvait au salon avec ses cinq enfants, dont j'etais I'ame 
(j'avais alors 16 ans). En ce moment vni anoien serviteur de la maison, 
qu'on traitait en ami (mais qui alors ne servait plus cliez nous), ^tait venu 
nous voir et etait engage dans une conversation avec ma mere. Tout a coup 
les ^bats joyeux des enfants s'arreterent, et I'attention generale se porta 
vers notre chien 'Moustache,' qui s'dtait precipite, en abeyant fortement, 
vers le poele. Involontaii'ement nous regardames tous dans la meme direc- 
tion, et nous vimes sur la corniche du grand poele en carreaux de faience 
un petit garQon, de 5 ans a peu pr^s, en chemise. Dans ce gargon nous 
reconnumes le fils de notre laitiere — Andre, qui venait chez nous sou vent 
avec sa mere pour jouer avec les enfants ; ils vivaient tout jn'es de nous. 
L'apparition se ddtacha du poele, passa au-dessus de laous tous, et disparut 
dans la crois^e ouverte. Pendant tout ce temps, — une quinzaine de secondes 
a peu pres — le chien ne cessait d'aboyer de toutes ses forces, et courrait et 
aboyait en suivant le mouvement de l'apparition. Le meme jour, un peu 
plus tard, notre laitiere vint chez nous, et nous fit part que son fils Andre, 
apres une maladie de quelques jours (nous savionsqu'il dtait malade) venait 
de mourir ; c'etait probablement au moment oil nous le vimes apparaitre. 

' ' Daniel Amosof. 

" Marie TeliSchof 
' ' (la mere de M. Amosof en second mariage). 


" (vivant a present a L^biajey^, pr^s Oranienbaum). " 

This case was not known to the collector beforehand. 
For another experience of Mr. Amosof, see p. 192. 

The next case presents a marked contrast to the last ; since the 
figure was invisible to all present except the one percipient, although 
the attention of others was called to it. 

(630. 5.) From Mr. J. H. 

March 29th, 1892. 

" It occurred at Bury (Lancashire), about fourteen years ago; I was 
awakened by a rattling noise at the window, and wakened my step-brother, 
with whom I was sleeping, and asked him if lie could hear it. He told 
me to go to sleep, there was nothing. The rattle came again in a few 
minutes, and I sat up in bed, and distinctly saw the image of one of my 

Q 2 

228 Report on the Census of Hallucinations. [chap. 

step-brothers (who at the time was in Blackpool) pass from the window 
towards the door. Time, 2.30 a.m. 

" I was in good health and spirits. Age eighteen. 

" I had not seen him for some time. He had not been home for 2 or 3 
months. We heard next morning that he had been taken ill and died about 
2.30 a.m. 

"Three step-brothers and myself slejjt in the same room. I awakened 
them, but they could not see anything. My father, hearing the talking, 
got out of bed, and came into the room. I told him what I had seen, 
and he got his watch, and said, ' We will see if we hear anything of him.' " 

Mr. H. adds that this is the only hallucinatory experience he has 
ever had. 

The following corroboration from one of the step-brothers was sent 
by the collector, Mr. Butterworth, of 16, Essex Street, Rochdale, who says : 
" I regret that I am unable to get more than one signature, as the father is 
dead, and the other two brothers are abroad." 

"I remember very distinctly my step-brother, J. H., getting up in bed 
one night in August, 1878, and saying he could see an apparition of my 
brother in a kneeling position, and my father coming into the bedroom 
to ask what was the matter. He referred to his watch, and found it 
was about 2.30 a.m. The following morning we received news of my 
brother's death at the time stated. 

(Signed) " W. R." 

"Witness : S. R." 

The next case is counted as belonging to a period more than 10 
years ago, since it occurred 15 years before the percipient was asked 
the Census question ; but it will be observed that the account was 
written in 1884, within 10 years of the incident. 

(83. 21.) From Miss Ellen M. Greany (now Mrs. Edwards.) 

Formerly a servant in the family of Miss Porter, at 16, Russell Square, 

[This case is reprinted from Phantasms of the Living, Vol. JI., p. 54.] 

May 20th, 1884. 

" I sat one evening reading, when, on looking up from my book, I dis- 
tinctly saw a school friend of mine to whom I was very much attached, 
standing near the door. I was about to exclaim at the strangeness of her 
visit, when, to my horror, there were no signs of anyone in the room but 
my mother. I related what I had seen to her, knowing she could not have 
seen, as she was sitting with her back towards the door, nor did she hear 
anything unusual, and was greatly amused at my scare, suggesting I had read 
too much or been dreaming. 

' ' A day or so after this strange event, I had news to say my friend was 
no more. The .strange part was I did not even know she was ill, much less 
in danger, so could not have felt anxious at the time on her account, but may 
have been thinking of her: that I cannot testify. Her illness was .short. 


Death- Coinciden ces. 


and death very unexpected. Her mother told me she spoke of me not very 
long before she died, and wondered I had not been to see her, thuiking, of 
course, I had some knowledge of her illness, which was not the case. It 
may be as well to mention she left a small box she prized rather, to be given 
to me in remembrance of her. She died the same evening and about the same 
time that I saw her vision, which was the end of October, 1874. 

"Ellen M. Greany." 

In answer to an enquiry. Miss Greany adds that this hallucination is the 
only one she has ever experienced. She was then about 15 years old. She 
tells Miss Porter that she went to see her dead friend before the funeral, 
which accords with her statement that she heard the news of the death very 
soon after it occurred ; and there is no reason to doubt that, at the time 
when she heard the news, she was able correctly to identify the day of her 

Her mother corroborates as follows : — 

Acton, July, 1884. 
" I can well remember the instance my daughter speaks of. I know she 
was not anxious at the time, not knowing her friend was ill. I took no notice 
of it at the time, as I do not believe in ghosts, but thought it strange the 
next day, when we heard she was dead, and died about the same time that 
my daughter saw her. 

" Margaret Greasy." 

Mr. Gurney writes : — 

" I have seen Ellen Greany, who is a superior and intelligent person. 
She went over her story without prompting, giving an entirely clear and con- 
sistent account, and standing cross-examination perfectly." 

This case was known to the collector, Miss Porter, beforehand, but 
the percipient was not included in the Census because of her experience, and 
the case is one of those referred to on p. 210 as known beforehand, but not 

In the next case the interval in time between the apparition and 
the news of the death is unusually long, and there is a discrepancy as 
to the day of the week remembered by the percipient ; but her recollec- 
tion that the coincidence of the two events was ascertained when the 
news came is clearly corroborated by her husband. 

(307. 20.) From Mrs. Murray. 

Langholm, Upper Norwood, June IStli, 1890. 

' ' Some time in the summer of 1869, awaking suddenly at night, I dis- 
tinctly saw a man in naval uniform, whose features I recognised, standing in 
the room, who seemed to walk bel^ind a curtain. I had not seen the person 
for some years, or thought or spoken of him. 

" I was in good health ; 21 years old. 

"I distinctly saw and recognised the face. Some months after, I heard 
that the person I had seen had died the same night I thought I had seen 
him, somewhere at sea. 

230 Report on the Census of Hallucinations. [chap. 

"I awoke my husband, told him whom I liad seen, and he searched the 
room and house. 

" I have never had any other experience, and am not nervous or fanciful. 

"Florence Murray." 

Mr. Podmore called on Mrs. Murray on March 29th, 1892, and wrote an 
account of his interview the same day as follows : — 

"The vision happened in 1869. The figure seen was that of a young- 

man, Mr. , who had known Mrs. Murray before her marriage. 

The naval uniform with bi'ass buttons, in which the apparition was dressed, 

she had never seen. Mr. , however, as she knew, had left England a 

few months before the vision, having obtained some appointment on a ship 
— probably purser on a P. and 0. steamer. She showed me a photograph of 
him — given to her later — in naval uniform, but witli gold band and large 
brass buttons. She told her husband what slae had seen, and he got up and 
searched the room. 

"Next day (probably a Saturday) she met the young man's mother at 
the Crystal Palace, and asked if he were quite well. The news of his death 
— by an accident at sea — she saw some three weeks or a month later (she 
thinks), in an evening paper. The vision occurred in the summer of 18G9, 
early in the morning, for the room was partly light. 

' ' No notes were taken of the vision, but she and Mr. Murray talked the 
matter over when they heard of the death, and came to the conclusion that 
it occurred on the same day, the date of vision being fixed by the fact of her 
going to the Palace on the following day." 

Mr. Murray's corroboration was given in answer to Mr. Podmore's 

April 3rd, 1892. 

" Mrs. Murray has advised me of your visit and the purport thereof. 
"I recollect the circumstance very distinctly, but saw nothing myself. 

"I however ascertained that ■ 's death did occur at that time, as 

nearly as difference of [longitude] will allow. 

"M. Murray." 

Mr. Podmore wrote to Mr. 's brother asking for the date of his 

death, and was informed that he died on A.ugust 24th, 1869, on one of the 
Royal Mail Company's steamers, and was buried at sea. August 24th, 1869, 
was a Tuesday ; so that Mrs. Mui'ray's present impression as to the day of 
her visit to the Crystal Palace is probably at fault. 

The following is again a case of shared or collective hallucination : — 

(418. 4.) From Mr. H. Sims. 

64, Geach-street, Birmingham, May 20th, 1891. 

" Sixteen years ago, I had just got into bed, but had not lowered the gas, 
which was brightly burning. My wife and I both saw her aunt walk acrosa 
the room and disappear. The figure was as plain as in life. She lived 
one and a-half miles away, and was ill at the time. Next day we heard she 
had died about that hour. 

"My age was 26. "Henry SiMS." 

XII.] : ■■ Death-Coincidences. 


Mrs. Sims adds a note to the narrative : — 
' ' I certify the above to be correct. 

"Eliza Sims." 

Mr. Sims, who is an engineer in a factory at Birmingham, says that he 
has had no other hallucination, except a non- vocal auditory one, and that 
he was not out of health or in anxiety on eitlier occasion. 

Mr. Myers writes : — 

December Idth., 1891. 

" I saw Mr. and Mi-s. Sims yesterday evening. They seem both of them 
sensible persons. They are quite sure that they saw the figure independenily . 
They both saw it move in the same direction. The date was more remote 
than Mr. Sims had at first supposed, viz., January, 1869." 

This case was not known to the collector beforehand. 

In the next case the experience is veiy remote ; but tlie recollection 
both of the percipient and of his wife appears to be quite firm and clear. 

(523. 12.)' From Mr. John Cass. 

Castleford, Yorkshire, December IS^Ti, 1891. 

"[In] May, 1845, in Castleford, Yorks, about 10 p.m., I saw the figure 
of my sister Isabella pass through the bedroom. [I had] just retired to 
rest — light still burning in bedroom ; [I was] in good health ; age 29 years. 
My sister and I were in great sympathy of spirit. I learned next day that 
she had died at the same hour of above experience, at Barnsley, 17 miles off. 

" My wife was present at above time, to whom I remarked, 'My sister 
Isabella is dead, I have just seen her pass through the room.' My wife did 
not share the experience. [I have had] no other experience so distinct as 
[the] above. "John Cass." 

Professor Sidgwick writes : — 

March IStli, 1892. 

"I called on Mr. Jolm Cass this morning, and also saw his wife. Slie 
said that she remembered the incident as clearly as possible. She remem- 
bered that her husband said, 'My sister Isabella is dead,' that she 
answered, 'How do you know T and that he replied, ' She has just passed 
through the room.' I asked about the coincidence of time. She said, they 
generally went to bed about 10, and as she was not yet in bed when the 
apparition was seen by her husband, the time of it was thus approximately 
fixed. It happened on Sunday. They learnt that it coincided with the 
time of the death by a letter that arrived on Tuesday from another sister. 
Mrs. Cass said that she remembered her husband remarking, wlien the letter 
had been read, ' that it would be about the same time. ' The letter was long- 
since burnt. The sister died of consumption, aged 24, near Barnsley, 17 
miles off. They knew tliat she was very ill, but had no expectation of hev 
death as imminent at the time when Mr. Cass saw the apparition. Mr. 
Cass was irot inclined to give details about the figure, beyond saying that it 
passed through the room, that he knew it was spiritual, Init felt no alarm. 
Mrs. Cass thought that she must have seen it if it liad been a real human 
being. He was also reluctant to give details of his other experiences, but 


Report on the Census of Hallucinations. [chap. 

he said unhesitatingly that this was the oiily time he saw the apparition of 
a relative or friend. He thinks that he can make others think uf him, 
and know clairvoyantly what they are doing. He mentioned, and Mrs. Cass 
confirmed, that a daughter living 13 miles off had come to see him, with 
her liusband, meaning to take him by surprise, and found dinner specially 
prepared for her and lier husband." 

The 1 0th case in which we have testimony from more than one per- 
son who knew of the experience before the news of the death was 
received — viz., No. 118.20 — will 1)e found in F/iantasins of the Living, 
Vol. II. p. 462, where it is numbered 500. We do not reprint it here, 
as there is some doubt whether the hallucination preceded the death by 
four to six hours, or followed it by some 18 or 20 hours. In the latter 
case, it would not of course have been a "death-coincidence" according 
to our definition. In this instance the death happened at a distance, 
and was not heard of till some weeks later, as in Mrs. Murray's expe- 
rience above. Under these circumstances, there is na,turally more 
doubt about the coincidence when no note is made, since the evidence 
depends on the percipient's remembering the date of the hallucination 
accurately when the news comes. If the death is heai'd of by telegram 
or otherwise on the day it occurs, a mistake at the time as to whether 
there was a coincidence or not is almost impossible. The following 9 
cases are instances of this. 

(61. 22.) From Miss C. L. P. 

(The account was written in May or June, 1889.) 

"I saw my father. Date, Wednesday, April Gth, 1887. Hour, between 
8 and 8.30 a.m. Place, B . 

"[I was] walking [alone] to scho(jl. He was then dying (or dead) at P , 

and I was the last person mentioned by him. We were in absolute ignorance 
of his illness. Two telegrams were brought to me at school from my lodgings 
— one saying that he was ill, tlie second that he was dead. 

' ' On Sunday, April 3rd, a presentiment of coming trouble took such hold 
of me that I went down to a friend, telling her I really could not stay alone, 
as I expected to hear every second that somebody belonging to me was dead 
or dying. Sleep was advised as a cure for nervousness, and the presentiment 
wore away completely." 

Miss P., who was at the time a mistress in a High School, writes 
further that she has never had any otlier experience of the kind. Her going 
abroad has prevented our obtaining further evidence in the case, but we have 
ascertained from a local paper of A^jril 14th, 1887, that her father's death 
occurred, as she states, on April 6th, 1887. 

This case was not known to the collector beforehand. , . 

In the following case there is more than a mere coincidence ; since 
the fact of the death and the position of the dead person were com- 
municated to the percipient. 


Death- Co incidences. 


(730. 24.) From Mrs. B. de A. 

Rio de Janeiro, March 14f/i, 1892. 

" I saw the form of a lady friend lying on a sofa as if dead. I exclaimed, 
' Retiuha is lying there dead, mother. ' We were living at the time at Rio 
de J aneiro. It was past midnight on the 21st of J une , 1886. 

" I was doing needlework. Health and spirits good. Age at time, 56. 

" [It was] Donna R. N., my cousin. She had promised to dine with 
me that very day, but afterwards sent word that she would dine at 
T. She died of congestion of the brain at the house of the people 
she had gone to visit, shortly after midnight, and was laid out on the sofa. 
I saw her next day exactly in the same position in which I had seen her at 

" My mother and a servant [were present]. They did not share the 

This case was not known to the collector beforehand. 

In the next case — as in the first of this group (Miss P.'s) — the 
probability of thought-transference appears to be increased by the 
statement that the dying person's thoughts were directed to the 

(645. 11.) From Mr. C. H. Beer. 

Cheltenham, May 2dth, 1893. 

" My first impression was at a concert at Richmond, Surrey, un Decem- 
ber 12th, 1881, when my father appeared to me on the platform at frequent 
intervals the whole time the concert was going on. My father was lying ill 
in Devonshire at the time. He was dressed in his ordinary clothes. I was 
told afterwards that my father had been asking for me at this time. 

"I was in much anxiety about my father, who was very ill at the time, 
but I did not know he was any worse in December than he had been for 
some weeks previously. My age was 27. 

" I again saw my father in the early hours of the morning of the 13th 
December, and was so disturbed that I got up and told a footman of it in an 
adjoining room. On returning to my own room I again saw the figure of 
my father, leaning over me as I lay in bed, and he remained on and off 
through the night. I had seen my father the previous July. He died at 
7.30 on the morning of the 13th December, within a short time of his 
appearing to me. I did not know of his death till mid-day on December 

"I have had one hallucination subsequently, of a man whom T did not 

"Charles H. Beeh." 

Mr. Beer is a butler, in the service of the Rev. Hugh Peai'son, at whose 
house Dr. Myers saw him on May 30th, 1893. 
Dr. Myers writes, on the same day : — 

" [Mr. Beer] seemed to me a very good witness — clear and intelligent, 
and not inclined to exaggerate. His master told me he had always lieard 
the same story from him. He knew his father was seriously ill (consump- 

234 Report on the Census of Hallucinations. [chap. 

tion) at the time of his hallucination, December 12th and 13th, but was 
expecting him to live over Christmas, when he hoped to go and see him. 

' ' He says he told a footman at the time about his hallucination before he 
knew of his father's death (and this footman is now at an unknown address 
in Australia), and also a nurse, who is now dead. I see no hope of getting 
contemporary evidence. He says he .wrote down nothing." , ; 

We have verified the date of death independently. 

This case was not known to the collector beforehand . • 

The frequent recurrence of the appaiition, which we find in Mr. 
Beer's case, is a very unusual feature. (See Chapter VIII., pp. 164-5.) 
The duration of the experience in the next case is no less unusual. 

(450. 18.) From Miss S. R. R. 

August 2211(1, 1891. 

" When my sister died in 1877, she died in Dublin. I was at home ; we 
knew she was very ill, and my father, who was in Dublin, said he would 
telegi'aph if she grew worse. But that night I .saw my sister lying dead 
beside me, and I knew, before we sent for the telegram, the contents of it. 
It came by post next morning." 

In answer to our enquiries. Miss R. sent the following more detailed 
account of her exjoerience: — 

September bth, 1891. 

' ' At the time of my sister's death, I was sleeping in my mother's room, 
and my thoughts were very much with my sister, who was dangerously ill in 
Dublin, and just as I lay down, I plainly saw her lying dead beside me, 
with her arm outside the clothes, just as she had died a few hours ago. 
I scarcely slej)t at all that night, and there my sister lay beside me, and I 
was glad to have her, knowing too well what the contents of the telegram 
would be next morning. 1 said nothing of it to anyone, till I was sending 
the gi'oom to the post office for it, and then I said to him, ' I know the 
contents of it, Mrs. R. is dead.' I do not think it would be any use asking 
him any questions — he left my father's service shortly after, and I am sure 
could not recall events so long past." 

Some years after this incident. Miss R. saw repeatedly aj)paritions of her 
mother, which she describes as follows; — 

A mjnst 22nd, 189] . 
"My mother died in February, 1882, and for three months after her 
death she used to come to me almost nightly, after I had retired to my 
bed-room. Sometimes she would come up to the bed and bend over me; 
at other times she would stand at the door and beckon to me." 

Professor Sidgwick writes: — 

March 2^rd, 1892. 

" I saw Miss R. to-day, and she described to me her experiences. The 
apparition of her sister was the first hallucination she ever had. It oc- 
curred about six hours after her death; she died at four o'clock in the after- 
noon, and Miss R. went to bed about 10, and had the vision soon after. She 
knew her sister was very ill, but did not think there was immediate danger; 




her father had gone to Dublin to the sister, and liad promised to write 
or telegraph if there was such danger ; but in fact the alarming symptoms 
only manifested themselves half-an-hour before she died. 

" What she saw was first ' something white ' on a long cedar chest beside 
her bed; then looking closer it seemed to be her sister in bed; the chest was 
plain bare wood, but it seemed just like a bed. She saw the face distinctly; 
she had put out the candle, but there was a fire in her room; she is quite 
sure that she was awake. She saw it all night whenever she turned to it, 
just as if it was a real form. She was clearly anxious to give her recollection 

' ' The apparitions of her mother were always completely externalised ; she 
appeared just as in life. The first time she ajjpeared standing in the 
doorway, with a gesture as if beckoning to follow, and this was the more 
usual appearance ; but sometimes she came when Miss R. was in bed, and. 
seemed to stoop over the bed." 

The next case is one to which we have referred in Chapter VI. 
p. 117, as an instance of gradual development of the apparition. 

(328. 5.) From Dr. A. T. 

His original Russian account has been translated into French by the 
collector, Madame de Holstein. It is undated, but was written not later 
than the early part of 1890. 

"C'^tait en 1874, au commencement du mois de Mars, a Kielf. Entre 7 
et 8 h. du soir j'etais assis seul dans ma chambre et je pensais a mon pere. 
J 'etais sous I'influence de tres tristes pensdes ; voici pourquoi : deux jours 
avant, j 'avals lu dans un livre que la maladie qui avait entre autres et^ 
reconnue chez mon pere avait assez souvent pour issue une mort subite. 
Comme j'aimai beaucoup mon pere, ce que j'ai lu ne laissait pas de me 
rendre inquiet. J'etais surtout oppress^ le soir dont je parle. Tout a coup je 
commensal a distinguer a I'autre bout de la chambre une figure qui, au com- 
mencement, semblait etre recouverte d'un brouillard ; en suite la figure de 
mon pere s'est nettenient dessinee. Je la voyais nettement, elle me fixait et 
Texpression du visage ^tait tres triste. Au bout de trois minutes environ le 
fantasme (vision) disparut. Le meme jour a 11 h. du soir j'ai rcQu de Kr4- 
mentchouk, oii habitait mon pere, un t^legramme m'annon9ant qu'il etait 
serieusement malade. Je vins 3 jours apres a Krementchouk juste pour 
son enterrement. II mourut le jour ou j'ai veqn le tdl^gramme, pres de 
6 h. du soir. J'avais alors 21 ans. 

".Je n'ai jamais rien eprouve de semblable apres." 

The following letter from Dr. T. to Madame de HoLstein gives fuller 
details of the incident : — 

" En reponse a vos questions je m'empresse de vous dire que la tristesse 
que j'^prouvai le soir dont il s'agit avait certainement pour cause la lecture 
de laquelle j'ai parle. 

" Au moment oil j'ai vu I'apparition je n'ai rien fixe, je n'avais pas de 
point de repere. J'ai regarde par hasard du cote de la porte. 

236 Report on the Census of Hallucinations. [chap. 

" Je n'ai rien ressenti d'extraordinaire avant I'apparitiou, aiicim choc ; 
je ii'avais pas un sentiment d'attente ; I'id^e de voir men pere n'a pas 
traverse mon esprit un seul instant. J'ai commence par voir une 
grande tache qui n'^tait pas lumineuse, c'etait comme un nuage, 
comnie des vapeurs. En regardant bien, j'ai tout d'abord distingue 
le visage, qui etait pale, extenue, avait une expression de douleur, et 
^tait tel que je I'ai vu apres les acces d'angine de poitrine, dont mon pere 
etait atteint. Apres le visage j'ai distingu^ toute la iigure de mon pere, de 
graiideur naturelle. II etait habille en noir, conime je I'ai vu pour la 
derniere fois, etant all^ passer a la maison paternelle les vacances de Noel. 

"Je n'ai pas remarqu^ sur le visage de mon pere des changements dont 
je n'avais pas connaissance auparavant. 

" La chambre ou je I'ai vu n'etait pas bien eclairde, la lampe n'etait pas 
encore allumee, c'etait dans le penombre d'une soirde de printemps. 

" Je n'ai pas ressenti de peur, j'^tais ^tonnd, stupdfait, et plutot enclin a 
croire a la presence reelle de mon pere qu'a une 'apparition.' Quand 
I'apparition disparut, j'ai ^prouv4 une angoisse excessive, un pressentiment, 
la conviction qu'il devait arriver quelque chose K mon pere. 

" Jusqu'au moment de I'arrivee du telegramme j'^tais sous le coup de 
cette apparition, j'ai meme conQu I'idee de partir tout de suite a Krement- 
chouk. Lorsque j'ai re§u le teldgramme je ne I'ai pas ouvert de suite ; je ne 
jsavais pas d'oii il venait, mais j'^tais convaincu qu'il s'agissait d'un malheur 
arriv^ a mon pere. 

"Mon pere n'a jamais habite ni frequente la maison ou je I'ai vu. 
J'liabitai alors une chambre garnie. Je ne suis ni hysterique, ni neurast^- 
nique, et je I'dtais encore moins en 1874. 

(Signed) A. T., Docteur en Medecine." 

Madame de Holstein's comments on this case, contained in a letter, part 
of which is printed below, express what seems to us a just view as to how 
far it is reasonable to regard anxiety as the cause of this hallucination. 

29, Avenue de Wagram, Paris, August 26th, 1890. 

".J'ai demande M. T. s'il a parle a quelqu'un de sa vision ; il n'avait 
repondu que non. 

"Quant aux causes reelles de I'apparition, elles resteront douteuses dans 
le cas en question, comme du reste dans beaucoup d'autres cas. Pour moi, 
le cas du Dr. T. est sui'tout int^ressant parcequ'il vient d'une personne par- 
faitement saine d'esprit et de nerfs, instruite,sce23tique, sans idees pr^con^ues. 
II me semble aussi qu'il est tres difficile de chercher I'explication de cette 
vision dans I'inquietude que M. T. eprouvait. II n'est pas arrive a I'age de 
40 ans sans etre plusieurs fois inquiet pour ceux qui lui etaient chers ; pour- 
quoi n'avait il pas d'autres visions ? 

"Mais tout ceci constitue une serie de preuves morales, subjectives si 
■vous voulez, et vous avez mille fois raison de faire une reserve." 

The evidential value of the next case depends on the great exact- 
ness of the coincidence — it will be seen that the evidence of its 
exactness is strong. 


Death- Coincidences. 


(725. 6.) 

From Dr. B. G. 

Rio de .Janeiro, September 1st, 1891. 

" I saw very distinctly the apparition of a friend passing in front of 
a looking glass. I was then in bed. I lived at the time in Rio de Janeiro. 
It was, I believe, about 3 a.m. I told my wife at the time to look at the 
watch. This occurred November 21st, 1873. 

" I was lying awake in bed. My health was good at the time. We had 
taken it in turns to sit up with the sick man whose phantasm appeared, but 
I had rested from my watching. I was 57 years old. 

" The appearance coincided, as nearly as we could make out, with the 
moment of death. It was that of a friend, Sn. A., whom I had visited 
the night before. I had sat up with him on previous nights, and therefore 
knew that he was seriously ill. 

"My wife was present, but sleeping. I woke her, told her what I had 
seen and asked her to look at the watch. My son, who had been watching 
by the decedent, and who had witnessed the death, returned at 6 a.m. I 
told him, much to his surprise, that I knew Sn. A. had expired at 3 a.m. He 
confirmed it." 

This case was known to the collector beforehand. 

The next is again a case in which there was a veridical element 
besides the coincidence, — ^viz., the dress of the apparition, which, 
unknown to the percipient, resembled that of the decedent. 

' ' When I was about 19 years old, an old friend of my mother's, Mr. 
Wilson, 1 came to live near us. He had just lost his wife and was himself in 
consumption, with no chance of permanent recovery. He was in the habit 
of coming to our house in a bath-chair every morning, when he was well 
enough, and having a rest and a little luncheon. One day he came as usual, 
but looking much better and in particularly good spirits. On the evening of 
that day, about 9 o'clock (it was quite dusk), I was sitting at supper with my 
mother and aunt in the dining-room, with my back to the window, and facing 
an old-fashioned sideboard. I distinctly saw Mr. Wilson standing, resting 
his elbow on the sideboard and his face on his hand ; he had Jio coat on, and 
I was particularly struck by noticing that the back of his waistcoat was made 
of a very shiny material. I felt as though I could not take my eyes off him, 
and my aunt, noticing that I looked terrified, asked me what was the matter 
He then disappeared. Withm an hour a messenger came to fetch my mother, 
telling her that Mr. W. had broken a blood vessel and was dying. We went 
round just in time to see him alive, and he was lying on the bed, on his 
side, ivithout a- coat, and wearing a waistcoat with a particularly shiny back. 

" This vision so unnerved me that for months I was unable to go about 
the house alone, even in the daytime. This is perfectly correct, not in any 
way exaggerated. "Ada Belcher." 

(571. 14.) 

From Mrs. Belcher. 
Apsley House, Gloucester, September 26f/(, 1891. 

1 This is an assumed name. The real name of the gentleman was given us in 

238 Report on the Census of Hallucinations. [chap. 

Mr. Myers writes : — 

December 22n(l, 1891. 

"I have to-day seen Mrs. Belcher, an excellent witness. Her mother 
had been very kind to the invalid, and he left souvenirs to mother and 
daughter — some cabinets, which I saw, to the daughter. The date must 
have been 20 or 25 years ago. 

' ' The figure looked quite solid ; it gazed into the room, but not at Mrs. 
Belcher. The back of the waistcoat was clearly seen, a black shining 
material. Mrs. Belcher had never seen the decedent without his coat. 

" She has had one other slight experience — perhaps a mere illusion. Her 
nerves were much shaken by the apparition of Mr. Wilson, and one day, soon 
afterwards, while looking in the glass, she thought she saw in the glass her 
mother looking over her shoulder — in the dress which she was wearing at 
the time. Mrs. Belcher does not regard this as a full-blown hallucination." 

In the next case the percii^ient knew of the illness of the brother 
whose figure appeared to him ; but we see no reason to doubt his 
assertion that the knowledge was not attended by serious anxiety. 

(452. 10.) From Mr. Alexander Sherar. 

5, Wellwood-street, Amble, Northumberland, September Idth, 1891. 

" About 27 years ago, when about 11 years of age, one morning at about 
11 o'clock, going downstairs on my way to work I met a figure which I instantly 
recognised as that of my brother, who had fallen into the water a few days 
previously, and was lying ill at liis house about 200 yards off. I was 
accustomed to see [him] daily. He seemed to have just come out of the 
water, as the water was running from him. I was startled and ran into the 
house and told my mother, who, knowing my brother was confined to bed, 
ran to his house, and found that he had died about the time I saw him. 

" I was in good health, and in no grief or anxiety. No one [was] with me 
at the time. My present age is 38. 

"Alexander Sherar." 

Mr. Sherar has had one other veridical hallucination, which we have 
classed as a " vision." It is included in the 62 death-coincidences, and is 
interesting as being of the nature of a crystal-vision, and also in connexion 
with his former experience. It is therefore printed here, to keep the two 
together, but the coincidence is not so certain as in the first case, since the 
news of death may not have been received till some time later. He describes 
it thus : — 

"When about 20 years of age, on board ship in the North Sea (about 
July, 1873 about 6 to 8 p.m., while I was at the wheel I was startled by 
seeing reflected in the face of tlie compass the face of a young lady to whom 
I was to be married on my return home. On arrival at Berwick next day I 
learnt that the lady had died about the time I saw her. I was not at [the] 
time of seeing [the] face aware she was ill." 

The following account of an interview with Mr. Sherar, on September 
16th, 1891, is given by Professor and Mrs. Sidgwick, from notes taken at 
the time : — 


Death- Coincidences. 


' ' Mr. Sherar is a sailor. He struck us as having a very vivid recollection 
of his experiences. He was starting to go down the stairs when he saw the 
figure of his brother coming up. They met on the landing, where the stairs 
turned. The figure stopped, and Mr. Sherar, knowing it could not really 
be his brother, turned at once and ran back to tell his mother. He did not 
look round again, and did not see the figure after he turned. He did not 
see his brother drawn out of the water : indeed, he liad not seen him at 
all since he fell in and became ill. He did not think him so seriously ill 
that there was any need to go. His mother and all his family are dead, so 
that no corroboration can be .obtained. 

" At the time of his second experience he lived at Shields, and so did the 
young lady. He heard of her death by letter from a friend, who wrote to 
him at once. The letter came after he landed at Berwick. He believes the 
writer of the letter to be dead, and the crew, to whom he probably 
mentioned the vision, are scattered. No corroboration can be obtained. 
When the letter came he believes he made out the coincidence of time. He 
was not anxious and was not specially thinking of her when he saw the face. 
The illness was short and he knew nothing of it. After seeing the face he 
foreboded evil. It was getting dusk when he saw it. He has had no other 
experiences of the kind except these two." 

These cases were not known to the collector beforehand. 

The next case is very like Dr. B. G.'s, given on p. 237; and in the 
same way depends for its evidential value on the exactness of the 


(385. 20.) From Mrs. C. S. 

January 1st, 1891. 

''At 5 a.m., September 23rd, 1855, I saw my grandfather stand by me. 
Three hours and-a-half afterwards I learnt that he died at that exact time. 

" I was sitting up through the night. I was nearly twenty-one. 

" I had a friend sharing my watch and pressed her arm and whispered 
the fact and hour to her as a witness to the truth of it. 

" [I have] never [had any other hallucinations]." 

In answer to further enquiries, Mrs. S. writes : — 

"I knew my grandfather was ill. He had been sat up with for a week. 
I did not specially expect his death that night. My youngest sister was also 
ill, in another house, and a friend and I were sitting up with her. 

' ' The house we lived in was across a small park from my grandfather's ; 
it would take from five to ten minutes to go from one to the other. 

' ' [I am] certain [of the coincidence] because a clock struck five within a 
minute or so of my grandfather's being with me, and I whispered the hour 
to my friend, bidding her remember it. 

' ' The death caused a great change in our family, and is, therefore, well 
remembered , though so long ago. 

" I mentioned the matter to my parents, as my father spoke on entering 
the room to acquaint my mother with my grandfather's death, but till then 
my friend and I had sat silent and alone of waking inmates of that room." 

240 Report on the Census of Hallucinations. [chap. 

Since giving this account, Mi-s. S. has been abroad, so that we have been 
unable to make her personal acquaintance. 

The case was not known beforehand to the collector. 

The last case we shall include in this group is I'emote, and the per- 
cipient was young at the time ; but Mr. McKechnie is a careful 
witness, and if his recollection is substantially accurate, the evidence 
both of the hallucinatory and of the coincidental nature of the 
experience appears quite unmistakable. 

(191. 3.) From the Rev. C. C. McKechnie. 

43, Stanhope-road, Darlington, Saptemher 24:t]i., 1889. 

' ' I was about 10 years of age at the time, and had for several years beert 
living with my grandfather, who was an elder in the Kirk of Scotland, and 
in good circumstances. He was very much attached to me, and often 
expressed his intention of having me educated for the ministry in the Kirk. 
Suddenly, however, he was seized with an illness, which in a couple of days, 
proved mortal. At the time of his death, and without my having any appre- 
hension of it, I happened to be at my father's house, about a mile oflf. I 
was leaning in a listless sort of way against the kitchen table, looking 
upwards at the ceiling, and thinking of nothing in particular, when my 
grandfather's face appeared to grow out of the ceiling, at first dim and 
indistinct, but becoming more and more complete until it seemed in every 
re.spect as full and perfect as I had ever seen it. It looked down upon me, 
as I thought, with a wonderful expression of tenderness and affection. 
Then it disappeared, not suddenly, but gradually ; its features fading and 
becoming dim and indistinct, until I saw nothing but the bare ceiling. 
I spoke at the time of what I saw to my mother, but she made no account 
of it, thinking probably it was nothing more than a boyish vagary. In 
about 15 or 20 minutes after seeing the vision, a boy came running breath- 
less to my father's with the news that my grandfather had just died. 

"I have never been able to persuade myself that the vision was purely 
subjective. I have rather been inclined to think that the explanation is 
to be sought in my grandfather's exceptionally strong love for me, impelling 
and enabling him to bring liimself inti3 connection with me, at the moment 
of his death, in the way I have stated. It was at Paisley where the above 

" To the best of my i-ecollection this is a correct statement. 

" Colin Campbell McKechnie." 

On being asked for an approximate date, Mr. McKechnie writes: — 
"To the best of my recollection the boyish vision — if I may so call it — • 
occurred in 1830 or 1831. The Register of Deaths kept in the Gaelic 
Chapel of Paisley, if consulted, would enable one to fix the date. Grand- 
father lived in Sneddon-street, and his name was John McKechnie. 

"Colin C. McKechnie." 

Professor Sidgwick called on Mr. McKechnie on September 23rd, 1891, 
and writes on the same day :— 




"Mr. McKechnie has had no other experience of the kind, except that 
of hearing a voice, which was 'between sleeping and waking.' In the case 
of his vision of his grandfather's face he was certainly awake. 

" He believes that he was in no anxiety about his grandfather's illness, 
though he was aware of it. 

' ' He has often told the story, but no corroboration is now possible, all 
those who could have corroborated being no longer living. 

' ' I saw an account written by Mr. Kendall (the collector), on November 
2nd, 1870, from memory, a day or two after hearing it from Mr. McKechnie. 
This is briefer, but corresponds in all essential respects with the narrative 
given above, except that the news of the death is said to have come ten 
minutes after." 

We add one more case in which the action taken in consequence 
of the apparition shows it to have been at the time of an impressive 
character, and makes it improbable that any mistake could have been 
made as to the coincidence when the death was heard of. No 
corroboration is now obtainable. 

(579. 25.) From Mrs. A. 

Mrs. A. is the wife of the percipient in the case numbered (579. 24.). 
(The account was written in 1892.) 

"En 1867 je vivais a Toula (ville de gouvernement). Le 24 du mois 
d'Octobre, je me rendis au vUlage Lanky, a 100 verstes de Toula ; vers 
10 heures du soir je me mis au lit, tout en continuant la conversation avec 
la mere de I'intendant de ce bien, qui se faisait un lit dans la meme chambre. 
Vendant que cette femme me tournait le dos, en arrangeant les coussins de 
son lit, et continuait de me parler (je me rappelle tres bien de ce moment), je 
vis tout k coup au dessus de moi, tout au devant de mes yeux, une main, la 
paume tournee vers moi, passer lentement devant mes yeux et disparaitre. 
La chambre etait encore eclairee, de faqon que je pus tres bien reconnaitre 
dans cette main la main de mon pere, vivant alors a Moscou, dans sa propre 
maison. Depuis plusieurs annees il t;tait malade do phthisie, mais son etat 
n'inspirait rien d'alarmant, et je I'avais vu deux mois avant cet accident. 
Je fis part immediatement a la mere de I'intendant de ce que je venais de 
voir, et I'impression qu'un malheur m'attendait etait si forte que, quoiqu'a 
peine arrivee a la campagne, le lendemain, de grand matin, je me mis en 
route pour revenir en ville. Ai-rivee a Toula, oii j'occupai un appartement, 
je trouvai une depeche de ma mere, par laquelle elle m'informait que mon 
pere venait de mourir le 24 Octobre, a 11 heures du matin." 

This case was not known to the collector beforehand. 

If the reader has perused all the cases we have pi'esented to him 
in this chapter, he has had before him 26 of the 62 death-coincidences 
(not including the second case of No. 4.52.10). For another (No. 118. 
20) we have referred him to Phantasms of the Living : and three 
more, vi^., Nos. 407. 3, 460. 1, and 692. 2, are printed in other chapters 
to illustrate different points (see pp. 129, 288 and 115). We have nob 


242 Report on the Census of Hallucinations. [chap. 

thought it worth while to print more specimens of this class, though 
we keep the rest for refei'ence. 

The 26 given in this chapter seem to us, on the whole, the best 
evidentially. It is, of course, difficult to draw the line, and probably 
some of those omitted might be thought by others more impressive- 
than some which we have included ; but the evidential value of many 
of the unprinted cases is not very great. When, however, it is 
remembered that the 62 cases are simply all the cases which, in the 
answers to our circular of enquiry, have been reported to us as death- 
coincidences among the recognised visual j^hantasms, leaving out those- 
only which belong to the classes specified on pp. 209-10, it will be- 
obvious that their value as evidence must vary considerably. Some of 
the cases are very remote ; others are vaguely and inadequately des- 
cribed ; many are without corroboration or confirmation of any kind, the 
persons who could have given corroboration in many cases being dead,, 
or having been lost sight of. That in some among so many the close- 
ness of coincidence is exaggerated, we might safely assume a priori. 
But we have now to show that indirect evidence of such exaggeratiort 
is afforded by the distribution of the cases in time, since there is 
good reason for believing the remoter cases to be too numerous iix 
proportion to the recent ones. 

If the 62 death-coincidences are divided into those that occurred 
within 10 years of the answering of the Census question and those that 
occurred earlier, it will be found that the number in the recent period 
is 11, and in the remoter period 51. Now the average age of the per- 
cijDientsat the time of answering the question was 46 years, ^ and as we 
have not included experiences occurring at ages under 10, this gives an 
average period of 36 years over which the 62 death-coincidences are 
distributed. If we assume that death-coincidences are equally likely 
to occur at all ages from 10 years old upwards, and — unlike the 
average hallucination — equally likely to be remembered, however 
remote, then 62 divided by 3-6, or about 17, is the number which, 
should have occurred, out of the 62, in the most recent ten years (a period 
which, as our percipients are all over 20 years of age, is common to 
them all), leaving 45 for the remote period. This is a very different 
proportion from the actual one. We cannot, of course, expect the 
proportion to conf<3rm so exactly to the average as we should were 
we dealing with a larger number of percipients, but 51 remote experi- 
ences should on an average imply 19 or 20 recent ones instead of 11, 
and that the recent experiences should by chance alone be not much 
over half the most probable number in proportion to the remote ones 

1 It is thus higher than the average age of our informants generally, which is only 
40 years. (See p. -53;) 




seems unlikely. If we look at it the other way, we should infer from 
the 11 recent cases that there were really about 29 remote ones ; and 
that some 22 of those reported were not death-coincidences at all. 
Our numbers are, however, too small to justify us in drawing this 
inference with any confidence; especially as, if we included second-hand 
cases, we should add 3 to the period within ten years, and only 2 to 
the remoter period. Moreover, we ought not to lose sight of the fact 
that there are probably special causes tending to reduce the number of 
recent cases that come to our knowledge. It is not impi'obable that 
some may have been withheld from us, owing to a natural reluctance 
to make public experiences which have strongly affected the emotions, 
especially I'ecently.^ Still we have also to take into account the 
possibility that one or two of the recent cases given were not really 
death-coincidences. 2 

On the whole, in view of the evidential defects of many of the 
cases, we are disposed, in order to be on the safe side, to accept a 
reduction to the extent above suggested, and to estimate the whole 
number of death-coincidences at 40, instead of 62. From this number 
we propose, for the purpose of calculating the probability of chance 
coincidence, to make a further reduction of 8, as a very ample allowance 
for the selection which, we must assume, may have occurred in some 
cases. 3 

Before concluding this chapter, we must explain to what extent we 
have made the personal acquaintance of the percipients, and talked 
over their experiences with them, which it has been our wish to do as 
far as possible in veridical cases. Out of the 62 percipients in the 
death-coincidences we are now considering, we have interviewed 21, 

1 From one of our informants who answered "Yes, "no further particulars could be 
obtained, because the experience was connected with the recent death of her brother. 
This may have been a death-coincidence not reported. One alleged death-coincidence 
was withheld, though related verbally to the collector, because, not having mentioned 
it to her friends at the time, the percipient was unwilling to make it iKiblic now. 

- One of those cut out as a suspicious case, see next Chapter, pp. 2-16-7, is a recent 
case in which the coincidence is not clearly made out. 

3 We arrive at this number thus : out of 65 cases, as stated on p. 210, 19 were 
known beforehand to the collector, 2G unknown, and of 20 we cannot say whether 
they were known or not. Assumine; these 20 to be divided between known and 
unknown cases in the same proportion as the 45 of which we have information, we 
may take 9 as known beforehand. We have therefore 28 known beforehand. Of these, 
as we saw, 5 were certainly not selected and 3 certainly selected, leaving 20 which 
must be regarded as doubtful. As express instructions were given not to select, it will 
be an outside estimate to assume that half of these were selected, i.e., less than 10 out 
of 62 (besides the 3 known to have been selected, which we excluded at the outset). 
As the 62 are now reduced — by an allowance for exaggeration — to 40, and as there is 
no reason to suppose selection to have operated more in unexaggerated than in 
exaggerated cases, we think that the diminution of these by 8 will be a more than 
adequate allowance for selection. 

24<4 Rei^ort on the Census of Hallucinations. [chap. 

and 3 others had been similarly questioned by Mr. Gurney.^ Of the 
others, 22 were practically inaccessible to us on account of residence 
abroad, 5 on various grounds refused to see us, 2 have apparently 
changed their address and cannot be got at ; in 6 cases out of the 
remaining 9, it has not on the whole appeared to us worth making a 
troublesome journey to see the percipients, either because of the length 
of time since the incident, or because it was vaguely remembered, or 
for vinavoidable reasons badly evidenced ; finally, (in 3 cases) we have 
thought the collectors' investigations sufiicient. 

The general result of the interviews we have had in these and other 
cases has been decidedly satisfactory, leading, in almost all cases, to a 
favourable view of the carefulness and desire for accuracy of the 
witnesses. In 2 cases, a flaw in the evidence, which had not been 
observed by the witness, was detected, one being No. 656. 26 (see p. 370), 
already referred to, reported as a death-coincidence, but proving to be 
an apparition after death, but before the death was known ; and the 
other, No. 460. 1 (see p. 288), which we have still counted as a death- 
coincidence, but where there is a discrepancy as to the day of the week. 
But, in most cases, the interview decidedly adds to the evidential value 
of the story, at least in the interviewer's own mind. 

1 In 15 out of the 26 cases iu this Chapter, the percipients have been thus 


Chance Coincidence. 


Chapter XIII. 


We are now in a position to estimate the improbability that the 
death-coincidences are due to chance. 

The fact that each of us only dies once, enables us to calculate 
definitely the probability that that death will coincide with any other 
given event, such as the recognised apparition of the dying person. 
Taking as a basis for calculation the average annual death-rate for 
England and Wales for the ten years 1881 to 1890, as given in the 
Registrar General's Report for 1890, namely, 19'15 per thousand, we 
get as the probability that any one person taken at random would die 
on a given day, 19-15 in 365,000, or about 1 in 19,000. This, 
then, may be taken as the general probability that he will die on the 
day on which his apparition is seen and recognised, supposing that 
there is no causal connection between the apparition and the death. 
We ought therefore to find that out of 19,000 apparitions of living 
persons, or persons not more than 12 hours dead, one is a death- 
coincidence, — occurs, that is, on the day of the death of the person 
seen, and within 12 hours of the death on either side. 

The number of apparitions of living persons (including persons not 
more than 12 hours dead, if they are not known to the percipient to be 
dead) in the present collection is 381 ; viz., 352 realistic apparitions, 
(see Table IV.), 20 cases, classed as incompletely developed, where the 
figure or portion of a human figure seen is recognised as representing 
a living acquaintance, and 9 visions^ in which a living acquaintance 
appears. But among the percipients in these cases there are some who 
have experienced more than one hallucination. When these are all 
specified and enumerated, no confusion in our numbers can, of course, 
arise, because each apparition of a recognised human being is counted 
among the 381. But the cases where our informants have experienced 
several or many unenumerated hallucinations, some or all of which 
were- -or at least may have been — apparitions of living persons, 
introduce an element of uncertainty into the numbers which would 
complicate the calculation of the propoi'tion of coincidental to non- 
coincidental cases. For the purpose of the present discussion, there- 
fore, it seemed best to omit them altogether. 

There are 28 percipients who have had such unenumerated experi- 
ences among those whose experiences are included in the 381, and the 

1 For the use of this term see the explanation of the Tables at the end of Chapter 
II. ; also Chapter IV., p. 83. 


Report on the Census of Hallucinations. 


number of cases to be cut out on their account is 31,i of which 7 are 
death-coincidences, and were, as it will be remembered, omitted in 
estimating the death-coincidences in the last chapter. Omitting these 
31 cases, our number becomes 350. 

We now come to the most important correction we have to make — 
that for lapse of memory. It was shown in Chapter III. that the 
proportion of hallucinations (including perhaps doubtful hallucinations) 
which is forgotten or ignored is probably very large. If oblivion 
affected death-coincidences to the same extent that it affects the 
average of visual hallucinations, it would be unnecessary for us to 
take it into account — since the ratio of the two would not be altered 
by it. But this is not the case, — as is proved by the distribution in 
time of the alleged death-coincidences reported (see last chapter, 
p. 242), and as might be assumed from the fact that the coincidence 
would itself impress the hallucination on the memory. Indeed, it is 
clear that the evidence before us does not entitle us to assume that any 
death-coincidences at all aie foi'gotten. They may be, and the absence 
of any indicatioii of it may be due to the withholding of recent cases, 
but we have no sufficient grounds for assuming this. The whole 
correction required for oblivion ought, therefore, to be applied to the 
350 recognised apparitions of living persons with which the death- 
coincidences are to be compared. What this correction should be, is 
not quite a simple question, as the discussion in Chapter III. (pp. 63-6) 
showed. The conclusion there arrived at was that in order to form 
a fair estimate of the whole number of visual hallucinations occurring 
to persons over 1 0 years of age, we should multiply the number reported 
by 6"^y, if we included what we there called " suspicious cases," that is, 
experiences which must be regarded as doubtfully hallucinatory on cer- 
tain specified grounds, but that the multiplier would be 4 if we excluded 
these suspicious cases from consideration. Now it is to be observed 
that such suspicious cases are particularly prevalent among the 
reported apparitions of living persons, so that, if we estimate the 
whole number of these by multiplying the reported number by 61-, the 
proportion of trivial and doubtfully hallucinatory experiences will be 
even larger than with the visual hallucinations in general ; whereas 
among the 62 death-coincidences discussed in the last chapter, there are 
only two cases of which the hallucinatory character is doubtful ^ on the 

1 Of these, 5 occurred within one year from the time of answering the Census 
question, 13 others within ten years, 8 are more remote, and 5 are undated. Of the 
death-coincidences thus cut out, 2 occurred within the last ten years, 4 were more re- 
mote and 1 is undated. 

- Taking the three specified grounds of suspicion named at p. 64, viz. , (a) the 
figure seen at some distance either out of doors or in a public room ; (h) the figure seen 
passing outside the door of the room in which the percipient was, or .seen inside the 
room when the percipient passed outside it ; and (c) seen in a bad light and under 


Chance Coincidence. 


grounds specified. This being so, it is more correct to compare the death- 
coincidences with the estimated number of recognised hallucinations, 
■omitting the suspicious cases on both sides ; and this latter number we 
obtain, for the reasons given i\\ Chapter IIT., pp. 63-5, by subtracting 
from the reported number 8 per cent, for experiences occurring under 
the age of ten,^ and multiplying the remainder by 4. The number of 
recognised apparitions thus obtained is 1,288, or, let us say, 1,300. 

We concluded in the last chapter that, after making ample allow- 
.ance for possible exaggeration and selection, it would be safe to reckon 
-32 death-coincidences. To be on the safe side, let us assume — what is 
very impi'obable — that the two suspicious cases are both among these 
-32 and exclude them. We have then 30 death-coincidences in 1,300 
cases, or about 1 in 43. But chance would, as we have seen, produce 
death-coincidences at the rate of 1 in 19,000 apparitions of recognised 
living persons, and 1 in 43 is equivalent to about 440 in 19,000, or 440 
times the most probable number. Or, looking at the matter in a 
different way, we should expect that if death-coincidences only occur 
by chance, it will require 30 times 19,000, or 570,000 apparitions of 
living pei'sons, to produce 30 such coincidences, and of these we may 
assume that about a quartei', or 142,500 would be remembered. AVe 
should therefore expect to have to collect 142,500 cases instead of 350, 
in order to obtain by chance 30 death-coincidences. 

If we include the suspicious cases, and accordingly multiply the 
a-eported number of cases by Q'^, we get about 1 death-coincidence in 
65, i.e., about 292 times the most probable numbei'. 

This is the case if we take, as we have done, death-coincidences to 
mean an apparition occurring on the same day as the death of the 
person seen that is within 12 hours of the death. But as a matter 
of fact, the great majority of the coincidences are beheved by the 
percipients to be closer than this, as may be seen by examining the 62 
cases (or the 31 printed ones) discussed in the last chapter. The 
improbability of the apparition occurring by chance within an hour 
of the death, is, of course, twelve times as great as that of its occurring 
within 12 hours of it. 

We conclude then that the number of death-coincidences in our 

■circumstances not otherwise such as to exclude the possibility of mistake, we find in 
the first place that out of the 62, only 4 occurred out of-doors at all (or 5 if we include 
No. 379.24, p. 225, when the figure appeared out-of-doors, being seen through a 
window), and of these only one comes under the category of "seen at some 
■distance." Under head (6) there are none among the 62, and under head (c) we ought 
possibly to put one case, but not more. 

^ The reasons for excluding these before estimating the correction required for 
•oblivion are given in Chapter III., p. 65. They are also, it will be remembered, (see 
p. 209), excluded from the number of death-coincidences with which we are about 
to compare the whole number of recognised apparitions. 


Report on tie Census of Hcdlucinations. [chap: 

collection, if our estimate of them is accepted as fair, is not due tO' 
chance. This will not be maintained by anyone with the most 
elementary acquaintance with the doctrine of chances. The opponent 
of a telepathic or other supernormal explanation must take one of 
three other lines of argument. He must either (1) maintain that the- 
alleged coincidences are misrepi'esented as such to a much larger 
extent than we have allowed for, or (2) that they have been sought 
after by the collectoi's, and illegitimately introduced into the collection 
to a much larger extent in proportion to non-coincidental cases than 
we have allowed for ; or (3) admitting that the coincidences really 
exist in a proportion sufficient to prove a causal connection between, 
the apparition and the death of the person seen, he may maintain that 
this connection is not telepathic, but consists in a condition favourable- 
to hallucination being produced in the percipient in some normal way 
by the circumstances of the case. 

The first of these lines of argument can only be met by reference- 
to the evidence on which each case rests. This in "26 — or in fact 31 
— cases is before the i-eader, and he must form his own estimate. We 
need only point out here that the evidence must break down in a, 
wholesale way in order to destroy our argument. For the margin on 
the side against chance is very large, even one death-coincidence being 
more than we should be justified in expecting chance to produce in a 
collection ten times the size of ours. 

As to the second line of argument, we have only to remind the- 
reader that in 26 of the death-coincidences, of which 16 are printed 
in the last chapter, our collectors report that they had no previous- 
knowledge of the percipient's experience. We may add that in 11 of 
these cases— of which 8, viz., Nos. 425. 12, 442.17, 381.4, 383.24,, 
379.24, 61.22, 4-52. 10 (two cases), are among the 27 printed in the- 
last chapter — we have — besides the marking of the returns in. 
accordance with our instructions — the positive statement of the- 
coUector, confirmed in most cases by circumstances mentioned by him- 
when questioned, that he did not know of the experience when the- 
question was put to the percipient. The number of these cases is- 
alone sufficient to destroy the argument for chance coincidence, and 
as stated on p. 210, we have strong ground for believing that in some 
of the cases in which it is known that the collector was aware of the 
experience, this knowledge had no influence on his selection of the 

The third line of argument — that death-coincidences really exist 
and are not due to chance, but that the causal connection between 
hallucination and death is not telepathic, — requires careful examination. 

We saw in Chapter IX., that certain mental and physical states of 
the percipient are to some extent favourable to hallucinations, and 


Chance Coincidence. 


there can be no doubt that the form of any hallucination that may 
occur is likely to be determined by the subject with which the mind of 
the percipient is occupied. If, therefore, any mental tension — whether 
it be anxiety, grief, awe, anxious alertness to act rightly in an emer- 
gency, or any other such psychological condition — , or any overwrought 
state of nerves be produced in the percipient by the dying person's 
state, it is proper to regard it as a possible cause of the hallucination 
and examine it accordingly. But the case can obviously only arise if 
the percipient is aware of the dying person's condition, and, whatever 
be the effect of emotion, telepathy will still have to be called in to 
explain the existence of at least 19 cases among the 62 death-coinci- 
dences of which 10 are included in the last chapter,^ in which it 
is positively stated, or clearly implied, that the illness had not been 
heard of at all by the percipient at the time of the apparition. To 
these we may reasonably add those cases where though there was (or, 
at least, so far as we know, may have been) knowledge of illness, there 
was none of danger, and where it is expressly stated, or clearly implied, 
that there was no anxiety. Such are cases where the percipient either 
believes the illness to be trifling, or where it is a long chronic illness 
not known to be approaching a crisis, and where he cannot therefore 
be supposed to be emotionally affected. These are 18 in number, of 
which 6 are included in the last chapter.-^ With them we may reckon 
No. 579. 24 (see p. 223), where the death was due to suicide, but where 
we cannot be sure that it was not preceded by illness, and No. 307.20 
(see p. 229), where there is no reason to suppose that there was more 
anxiety than is usual when our friends are on a voyage. 

There i-emain 20 cases, of which 8 are included in the last chapter,^ 
in which the illness was known to be dangerous, or in which we cannot 
assume that this was not known, and 3^ in which the percipient was 
otherwise more or less anxious or troubled about the decedent. The 
extent to which the anxiety or trouble really occupied the percipient's 
mind in these 23 cases varies considerably and is sometimes difficult 
to estimate. In some cases {e.g., Nos. 450.18 and 328.5), the anxiety 
was clearly great. In others (e.g., No. 422.25), the knowledge of the 
serious illness does not seem to have produced emotional anxiety in 

1 Nos. 442. 17 (p 213), 383. 24 (p. 216), 362. 21 (p. 217), 147. 23 (p. 218), 379. 24 
(p. 225), 630. 5 (p. 227), 83. 21 (p. 228), 61. 22 (p. 232), 730. 24 (p. 233), 452. 10 (second 
case, p. 238). These cases are none of them under suspicion of having been selected 
by the collector. In 7 of them we have positive evidence to the contrary. 

2 Nos. 425. 12 (p. 211), 215. 9 (p. 224), 418. 4 (p. 230), 571. 14 (p. 237), 452. 10 
(first case, p. 238), 579. 25 (p. 241). 

3 Nos. 422. 25 (p. 227), 523. 12 (p. 231), 645. 11 (p. 233), 4.50. 18 (p. 234), 328. 5 
(p. 235), 725. 6 (p. 237), 385. 20 (p. 239), 191. 3 (p. 240). 

-i Nos. 381. 4 (p. 214), and 460. 1 (p. 288), are two of them. 


Report on the Census of JHallticinations. [chap. 

the percipient at all, on account of the absence of emotional relation 
between the percipient and the decedent ; but though this makes 
the anxiety — if it can be called so — less important, it also makes a 
telepathic explanation less plausible, so that we had better consider 
together all the cases where there was knowledge of serious illness, 
whether this knowledge produced emotional anxiety or not, or where 
there is reason to think that the percipient's mind was specially 
occupied with the decedent. 

The question before us is : granting that anxiety and other 
■emotions, or concentration of the mind on particular persons, are 
causes of hallucinations representing the person exciting the state of 
mind, ought we to assume that where such a state, — let us say 
anxiety, — is present, it sufficiently accounts for a death-coincidence? 
It is clear that the answer must largely depend on the duration of the 
anxiety as compared with the interval between the hallucination and 
the death. If the anxiety remains much the same for several days, 
the hallucination will not occur on the day of the death, and at no 
other time during that period, without some reason other than the 
anxiety, and, similarly, if the anxiety is unchanged for several hours 
and the hallucination occurs within a few minutes of the death, the 
coincidence, if frequent, needs accounting for. There may, no doubt, 
be cases where a period of culmination of emotion or fatigue occurs at 
the time of death comparable in duration to the interval between 
death and hallucination, and when this is so, the subjective causation 
of the hallucination may be regarded as equally probable with the tele- 
pathic. But this does not happen to be the case in any of the death- 
coincidences with which we are now concerned, and in our opinion, 
therefore, anxiety will not account for even those in our collection in 
which it was acute. ^ 

It must be regarded as confirmatory of this view that, out of the 
50 apparitions in the whole collection that occurred to our informants 
during anxiety (or presumable anxiety) of the percipient about the 
person whose figure was seen, 3 1 - are reported to have coincided with 
the latter's death — a proportion which must be greatly in excess of 

1 The strongest instance of anxiety, is perhaps No. 407. 2. The death had been 
hourly expected since the morning. From noon till evening, the percipient had 
watched by her dying cousin, and then had to return to her own house next door to 
rest, in preparation for her work next day as a teacher. Some time after she was in 
bed, she saw the figure of her cousin, at once got up and dressed, and, as she left the 
room, met the news that all was over. 

^ This includes 8 cases not reckoned in the 62 death-coincidences, because in 2 of 
them the percipient was, or may have been, aware that the death was actually at that 
moment taking place ; in 3 the percipient either was under 10 years of age or had had 
unenumerated experiences : and the other 3 are the ones in which we have evidence 
^pointing to special selection by the collectors. 


Chance Coincidence. 


the frequency with which anxiety is terminated by the death, and not 
by the recovery, of the person inspiring it. It is further signilicant 
that, of the remaining 19 cases, 11 occurred when the person seen 
proved to be on his death-bed, though he did not die within the 12 
hours which we have taken as the limit for death-coincidences. ^ 

The reader should bear in mind that when we affirm telepathy to 
have operated in any particular case, we do not intend thereby to 
exclude the action of other causes and conditions, — such as those 
examined in Chapters IX. and X. Indeed, the operation of other 
causes besides telepathy is sometimes obviously required to explain the 
bizarre form occasionally taken by seemingly telepathic communications. 
It is therefore quite likely that anxiety, — with other things which 
direct the thoughts of the percipient to the agent, — may facilitate 
telepathic communication ; but except in very special cases, of which 
we have none in the present collection, it will not by itself account 
for the coincidence of the hallucination with the death. 

1 It is worth analysing the remaining 8 cases. Three of them occurred during 
illness of the person seen, but we have no information as to whether the illness 
ended fatally or not. One (No. 69. 14, see p. 105) coincided with a serious danger 
to the person seen, suggesting a possible telepathic explanation. Two are cases 
where the percipient was awaiting the arrival of the person seen. (One of these 
is No. 317. 14, see p. 308. ) The anxiety was by no means acute in either case, and 
there was in both a slight element of coincidence, which makes the interpretation 
doubtful. In another, the percipient saw a friend, and states that he was anxious, 
but does not say on what subject. In the remaining case, (No. 426. 13, see p. 1H7) 
the person whose phantasm was seen appears to have been in no exceptional 
condition at the time. 

252 Rei^ort on the Census of Hallucinations. [chap. 

Chapteb XIV. 


In the last two chapters we limited ourselves to a special class o£ 
coincidences, namely, recognised apparitions of a dying person seen 
within 12 hours of the death, in order to base a calculation upon 
them. The evidence for telepathy — or some other supernormal cause 
— afforded by the Census does not, however, rest on these cases alone ; 
and in the present chapter we shall give selected instances of halluci- 
nations which do not fall within the class above defined, but which 
yet either coincide with some external event in such a manner as to 
suggest a causal connection between them, or else convey some in- 
foi'mation previously unknown to the percipient. 

But before leaving the subject of recognised visual death- 
coincidences, we may conveniently lay before the reader the three 
cases which we excluded from the last two chapters (see p. 210) 
because there was some reason to believe that the percipients were 
asked the Census question owing to their having had an experience. 
In all of them the coincidence was well made out, and appears to. 
have been very close. They are the following : — 

(61. 6.) From Mrs. G. 

'' I saw my mother, exactly as she was some few months before (when she 
lived with me), standing at my bedside. She touched me, but when^I spoke 
to her and tried to touch her, slie immediately vanished. This took place 
in January, 1883. Place, my own bedroom, in 

"I was in bed at the time, but wide awake ; was suffering from rheumatism. 

" I had not seen my mother for some months ; previous to that time she 
had lived with me. I was not aware of what she was doing at the time. My 
mother died at the exact time I saw her at my bedside, as I found next 

" No other person was in the room at the moment I felt the touch of her 
hand ; but one of my daughters, coming in just afterwards, saw nothing 
took note of exact time, which was 9.10 y.m.. 

"I have never since had a similar experience." 

The lady through whom this case was obtained informed us that she 
had first heard the accovmt from the daughter referred to, who told her 
that on going into her mother's room she had found her talking, 
apparently to someone at the foot of her bed. Her mother asked her if she 
could see anyone, but she saw nothing. They had a telegram next morning 
saying that Mrs. G.'s mother had died at the time the apparition was seen. 
Miss G. was then about 16. Mrs. G. had some ground for serious anxiety 
with regard to her mother's health, but tlie death was quite unexpected. 


Death- Coincidences. 


The account was written in May or June, 1889. It is in the handwriting 
of the daughter, and is signed by Mrs. G. herself. 

Mrs. G., who is now an invalid, was unwilling to see any member of the 
Committee on the subject. 

(301. 6.) From Mrs. Wilde. 

10, Golborne-street, Warrington, Mwy Id, 1890. 

' ' On November 7th , 1883, I was sitting in the evening nursing my baby, 
■when my brother-in-law, who I knew was at tlie time very ill, suddenly 
appeared, raised his arm, and then vanished. He was without his coat, as I 
had often seen him at his own home. I went at once to his house, and was 
told that he had just died. He was very fond of me, and during his illness 
had often said that he wished he coftkl come and see me. 

" I was quite well, very anxious about my brother, but not thinking about 
him at the time. I was 30 years old. I had only my baby with me at the 

" That was the only time I had such an exjjerience. 

"Catherine Mary Wilde." 

Mr. Wilde corroborates as follows : — 

' ' I beg to certify that I remember my wife relating to me shortly after 
TQy brother-in-law's death the circumstance already given relating to the 

"Thomas Wilde." 

Mrs. Sidgwick writes : — 

December im, 1891. 

" I have to-day seen Mrs. Wilde and questioned her as to her experience. 
rShe seems a good witness. Her brother-in-law, whose name was Thomas 
Hatch, died of bronchitis (added to some degree of consumption), and was 
delirious during the last few days of his life. He was attended by a 
professional nurse, but Mrs. Wilde saw him frequently, and he seemed to 
recognise her when she came into the room. On one occasion he got up in 
bed and said he was coming round to have a cup of tea with her. She 
believes she had seen him on the day he died more than once. She knew 
lie was expected to die, but did not realise it as likely to be immediate 
nor had she any idea that she had seen him for the last time. The kitchen 
in which she sat had a doorway into the lobby with no door. She looked 
up and saw him in the doorway quite distinctly ('not like a .shadow') just 
as she was accustomed to see him before he was ill, in his shirt sleeves. 
She saw him raise his arm (as though to beckon, I think she said). At the 
first moment she really thought it was he ; then she was frightened and 
looked away and saw him no more. She was so startled by the incident that 
she went round instantly to her sister's house, not three minutes off, for the 
sake of company, not with any idea of finding her brother-in-law dead. She 
asked how he was and was told he had just died. No one was with her when 
she had the experience, but she told her husband soon after." 

We have verified the date of death through the Warrington Advertiser 
of November 10th, 1883, which gives, under Deaths, "November 7th, aged 
29 years, Mr. T. L. Hatch, Golborne-.street, Warrington." 


Report on the Census of Hallucinations. [chap. 

After the above account was given, Mrs. Wilde had another possibly 
veridical experience — of an auditory hallucination — which she thus 
describes : — 

April 7th, 1892. 

' ' .Just before I got up, on the morning of the 28th January, 1892, I 
heard my name called distinctly (Kate). I thought it was my husband's 
voice, and throwing something on went quickly down. I noticed the time 
by the large clock in Sankey-street, which is plainly visible from our door j 
it was then a quarter to eight. Mr. Wilde was not in the house, and did 
not come in for nearly an hour. About eleven o'clock that morning news 
was brought of the death of Mrs. L., the lady whose business I was 
managing. She died at a quarter to eight, the time I heard the voice 
calling me. 

"C. M. Wilde." 

A mourning card, giving the date of death, was sent witli this account. 

(350. 1.) From Mr. T. J. Hay. 

Tower House, Millbrook, Southampton, June 24^/i,, 1890. 

" It is long ago — I think in 1845. One evening I took a candle and 
went downstairs, when I thought I met my great-aunt, who I was aware 
was seriously ill. I talked of this at the time with my mother and brother, 
and probably also my sister. Early the next morning the footman brought 
word that the poor old lady died the previous evening, about the hour when 
I fancied I saw her. [I was] in good health, [age] 19 years. 

" Thomas J. Hay." 

Mr. Hay informed us further that this is the only hallucinatory 
experience he has ever had, and that his brother was present, but did not 
share in the experience. His brother, through whom the collector first 
heard of the case, writes : — 

' ' I was present with my brother when the so-called vision took place, 
but I did not see it. 

"H. W. Hay." 

Professor Sidgwick gives the following account, written from notes taken, 
at the time, of an interview which he had with the percipient : — 

March 23rd, 1892. 

' ' I called yesterday morning on Mr. T. J. Hay at the Tower House. He 
told me he only regarded the matter as a strange coincidence. 

"It happened thus. He had been sitting in the evening with his mother 
and sister, but had left them for a brief interval, and it was during this 
interval that he saw the figure of his aunt. He was well aware that she was 
dangerously ill, but was not in emotional anxiety. The appearance was quite 
clear and definite, just as though she were there in the body : but knowing 
this to be impossible, he had a ' creepy ' feeling, though not a nervous man. 
It lasted about lialf a minute, and then vanished. He went back into the 
sitting-room, and told his mother and sister, saying, ' I fear something has 
happened to Aunt Fanny. ' At the same time he regarded the experience as 
a mere hallucination. He has never had any other hallucination, nor, so far 


Voices coinciding tvith Death. 


as he knows, has any member of his family. When the butler came the next 
morning with the news of his aunt's death, he asked the time of it, and found 
it about the same as the time of the appearance." 

Recognised Auditory and Tactile Death-Coincidences. 

The next group of cases are auditory hallucinations, in which a 
voice is heard at the time of a death, and either recognised as that of 
the dying person, or distinctly associated with him. There are 15 of 
these in our collection, not counting those in which a recognised 
apparition is accompanied by a voice. In 10 of them, what is heard 
is the percipient's name only, and in the remainder, other words. 
One of the 15 cases (No. 83. 3) was published in Phantasjns of the 
Living, Vol. II., p. 564, where it is numbered 616 ; another has been 
already printed in Chapter X., p. 179 ; the following are, we think, 
the three best cases among the others. 

(131.11.) From Mrs. Smith. 

38, Gillingham-street, Pimlico, S.W., September 9th, 1890. 

' ' [I heard] a voice calling my name three times on board the Runnymede, 
homeward bound from Australia. 10 p.m., 1874, Mai-ch 9th. [I was] 
lying in the bunk, but wide awake, only just laid down ; in good health and 

" It was my mother's [voice. She was] in England. My husband [was 
present] but he heard nothing. 

" When I returned to England I found my mother had died that same 
night. She pined and lost her health after I left. She was particularly 
anxious to see me before she was taken, and thought I had returned. 

"E. S. Smith." 

Mrs. Smith writes further to the collector, Miss H. Wilson : — 

''February 2Sth, 1891. 

' ' I can only tell you that my motlier was not attended by any of those 
belonging to the family, as slae died in Bethnal Green Asylum, March 9th, 
1874 ; and her name was Ann Youens, and I cannot ask anyone, as I am the 
only one living of all the family, but my husband has signed his name, as he 
knows quite well I told hiin on the 9th of March, the same night the fire 
broke out on board the Runnymede, the ship we came home in, and got in 
the West India Docks the 8th of .June, 1874, on Sunday morning. The 
captain's name was Hay. I am sorry that I have no one left to tell you more. " 

Mrs. Smith enclosed the following statement from her husband : — 

38, Gillingham-street. 
" When on board ship my wife told me that she distinctly heard her 
mother's voice calling her name. . . j^^^^^ g_ g^^^^^ _„ 

Mrs. Smith is a lodging-house keeper. She states that she has had no 

256 Report on the Census of Hallucinations. [chap. 

other hallucinatory experiences. Mr. Poclmore called on her, and gives the 
following account of his interview : — 

February Uh, 1891. 

"I heard the story from Mrs. Smith and her husband yesterday. Both 
are good witnesses, and intelligent. I enclose newspaper extract about the 
fire. The Runnymede was a barque sailing from Brisbane, and belonged 
(Mrs. Smith thinks, but is not sure) to the Shaw and Savile line. It was a 
wool-ship, and the fire broke out in the wool. The fire broke out, they 
agreed, about half an hour after the voice. The voice was distinctly re- 
cognised as that of Mrs. Smith's mother. The name called was ' Lizzie.' 
The agent's name was Ann Youens. I saw a printed memorial card 
giving the date of her death, March 9th, 1874." 

The newspaper cutting referred to gives under the head of ' ' Shipping 
Intelligence " : — 

"(from Lloyd's, april 15.) wrecks and casualties. 

" Pern AMBUCO (per telegraph, Lisbon, April 14). A fire broke out on 
board the Runnymede, fr6m Brisbane to London, loading wool, and tin ore, 
but was extinguished with little damage to vessel ; extent of damage to cargo 
not yet ascertahied. She has been surveyed, and has discharged part of her 
cargo ; cause of fire unknown. " 

The fact that the voice and the fire occurred on the same night is 
likely to have fixed the date in the mind of the percipient ; and this 
diminishes in the present case the evidential weakness which — if no 
note is taken at the time — usually attaches to cases where a consider- 
able interval elapses between the hallucination and the receipt of the 
news of the death. In the next case there can have been no mistake 
as to coincidence, since the news was received by telegram at once. 

(23. 11.) From Mr. Eggie. 

^ Walbottle, May, 1889. 

"On October 5th, 1863, I awoke at 5 a.m. I was in Minto House 
Normal Scliool, Edinburgh. I heard distinctly the well-known and charac- 
teristic voice of a dear friend, repeating the words of a well-known hymn. 
Nothing [was] visible. [I was] lying quite awake in bed— in good health, 
and free from any special anxiety. Tliere would be two others in the room, 
but sound asleep. 

" I have always thought it remarkable that at the very same time, almost 

to a minute, my friend was seized suddenly with mortal illness. He died 

same day, and a telegram reached me that evening announcing that fact. 

He had previously been in his usual good health. 

^ ".Jno. Eggie." 

Mr. Eggie is a certificated schoolmaster at Walbottle. In answer to our 
further inquiries he writes : — 

Walbottle, May 2Uh, 1889. 
" I cannot produce any independent testimony of any kind regarding the 
incident. It rests entirely on my own word, which, of course, in a scientific 
investigation, is worth nothing. My replies would be as follows :— 


Voices coinciding with Death. 


' ' I mentioned it to no one before the death. 

" The friend was my father. He died on October 5th, 1863. The cause 
of death was, I believe, certified as the bursting of a blood-vessel. 

' ' The sudden death was mentioned at the time in the Dundee news- 
papers, but I have no copy of one of them. 

"The words had something peculiarly appropriate about them, but, 
so far as I know, there was no special association. 

"You will see that most probably my father would at least be thinking 
a good deal about me that day. He did not speak, I believe, after the 

Professor Sidgwick writes : — 

September 23rd, 1891. 

" Yesterday, at 5.45 p.m., I had an interview with Mr. Eggie. He read 
over his paper, and suggested modifications of one or two phrases, which he 
thought perhaps needed slightly qualifying. 

"Thus, with regard to 'no anxiety,' Mr. Eggie thought he ought to 
mention that his father had been ill at the previous Christmas-time— had 
burst a blood-vessel ; but he had recovered from this, and was believed to 
be in normal health. Mr. Eggie had had a letter from him a day or two 
before, which gave not the slightest ground for anxiety. Still, though he 
had no ground for special anxiety, there might have been a faint general 
anxiety on account of the previous illness. 

"Again, in his statement of the exactness of the coincidence, he thought 
' almost ' should be inserted before 'to a minute.' But he felt sure of the 
closeness of the coincidence, for the following reasons : — 

" (1.) He knew the time of the voice from hearing the chimes of St. Giles's 
Church very shortly after. (2.) The time of the seizure he learnt when he 
went home for the funeral ; and it was fixed in his mind by the following 
circumstances. The father was engaged in farming, and the day of tlie 
fatal illness was market day ; he consequently rose earlier than usual, and 
was making himself some breakfast when the seizure occurred ; he never 
became conscious again, and he died at 2 p.m. on the same day. 

" The voice repeated two complete stanzas of the hymn. 

' ' An entry by which Mr. Eggie knows the date was in the fly-leaf of a 
Bible; it must have been made very shortly after the death. He heard of 
the death by telegraph on the same day ; a letter followed ; but neither 
mentioned the exact time of the death. He has had no similar experience, 
either before or after." 

This case is a death-coincidence, as the hallucination occurred 
within seven hours of the death ; but the almost exact agreement in 
time between the hallucination and the seizure suggests that it was the 
crisis of the seizure rather than of the death which caused the tele- 
pathic impulse. 

In the following case, again, the receipt of the news followed the 
hallucination so closely that there can have been no mistake as to the 


258 Report on the Census of Hallucinations. [chap. 

(55.18.) From the Rev. J. Maskell. 

(The account was written in 1889). 
■ ■ Emanuel Hospital, Westminster. 

"On 30th October, 1857, while Curate of Gain's Colne, Essex, I was 
sitting in my room, in lodgings, in a lonely half-occupied farmhouse, about 
7 p.m., when I heard tlie voice of a parishioner, whom I well knew, calling 
me from the outside, under my window, 'Mr. Maskell, I want you ; come.' 
I went out, but saw no one, and thought no more of it, till about 9 p.m. 
I was sent for by the man's wife, distant nearly a mile, and then learned 
that the man J. B. had been found dead in the roadway from Chappie 
Station to the village — a long distance from my abode, perhaps a mile 
or more. 

" [I was] reading, and in good health. 

"J. B. was a cattle dealer, and I saw him frequently, both in his place 
in church, and out of it. I had no knowledge of his occupation at 7 p.m. 
on Saturday, October 30th, 1857. 

' ' A lad who was my pupil [was present] ; he had no share in the experience . 

"I took no notes. The man J. B. was supposed to have been murdered, 
and at the inquest the verdict was ' Wilful murder against some person 
or persons unknown.' The motive for the murder was robbery, as he had 
sold much cattle, and was returning with money from Colchester Market. 

"J. Maskell." 

We have verified the fact that October 30th, 1857, was a Saturday. 

Mr. Maskell is now no longer living, but through the kindness of Miss 
Maskell we have been able to obtain a copy of the inscription on the 
murdered man's tomb in the churchyard of Colne Engaine, Halstead, Essex, 
which gives the date of his death as October 31st, 1857. The circumstances 
of the death seem to make it certain that it was on Saturday night, and not 
on Sunday, that the man was killed, so that we must suppose the day of 
the month on the tombstone to be wrong. 

Miss Maskell says : — 

"[My father] was, I know, much impressed with the occurrence, and 
seldom spoke of it; but, if necessary, I could have given you data, &c." 

The following case is the nearest approach among our cases to a 
recognised tactile hallucination coinciding with a death, but, as will be 
seen, it was not the touch that was connected with the dying person, 
but an accompanying mental impulse, much more impressive than the 
touch and of which the touch seemed to be a subsidiary part. 

(338. 26. ) From Miss L. D. 

September 4th, 1890. 
"On September 3rd, 1858, I was in a wild part of the West Highlands, 
where our home was, close to the sea. A party of cousins were with us, on 
a visit. I and a sister and one of our guests, a girl of 16, went out on the 
hills, to a point where we could look over the Sound of Mull. We sat on 
the turf looking at the view. I and my cousin made an outline sketch. 
[Then] she rose and walked a little further to join my sister. I was left 


Touches coinciding with Death. 


alone, and an impulse came over me to pray for a brother, a sailor — he was 
in the West Indies at the time. I heard no sou7id, but I felt a sensation as 
if something touched me. I obeyed and prayed for his safe keeping (his 
ship was on its way home). I said nothing to the others, but I did look at 
my watch : it was 3.30 p.m. 

' ' On September 7th a letter from this brother came. He hoj^ed to 
be with us in a few weeks, but they had been coaling at St. Thomas, and 
yellow fever was raging there ; several cases on board his own ship, though 
none were very severe. His letter was dated on a late day in August 
(25th, I think). On September 21st, our guests having all left us, a letter 
came from the authorities at Portsmouth, stating that on September 3rd 
he had died of yellow fever on his voyage home, and his body had been 
committed to the deep on the same day. He had been taken ill just after 
writing his last letter, and as he was a young fellow of 19, the surgeon 
thought his best chance was to be sent off at once, so he was carried on 
board and died on the second day at sea, September 3rd. The exact hour 
was not known, for the boy was left asleep in his berth, and found dead by 
one of his fellow-officers. 

" The shock was great to my mother — we could not talk much to her. 
Just after Christmas my mother and I went to stay with old friends and con- 
nections at a beautiful place close to Dunbar. Of course the sad event was 
talked over by my mother and our hostess. I was sitting by the first time 
they spoke, and heard my mother say, that about 3 o'clock on September 3rd 
she was sitting talking to her friend (the mother of the girl who walked out 
with me). Each had a sailor-boy, and they were talking of those two absent 
ones. Then they agreed to go out and walk, and my motlier had got on her 
things, and was leaving her room to join her friend, when (I quote her 
words) ' a hand seemed to force me to turn back, and I went and knelt 
down and prayed for my boy. I did not know why, but I just prayed 
he might be safe.' When I got her alone, I told her about our walk and 
my own experience. I had never done so till then, she had been so ill 
and upset. Neither of us had a doubt but that this ' message ' was sent to 
us just as the young spirit passed alone into the Unseen World. We heard 
no voice and saw nothing, but we were aware of an unusual sensation, which 
could not be resisted. I can, only call it ' an uncontrollable impulse.' 

"My mother died last year, and all the persons except one, who were 
with us on that day, are dead too. The exception is that young cousin, but 
I do not think I ever told her. I was 24 years old." 

It is an interesting feature in this case that the experience 
apparently occurred to two percipients in different places simul- 
taneously, but the second percipient being dead, it has, of course, been 
impossible to obtain her evidence at first-hand. 

Apparitions, not of the Dying Person, Coinciding with Death. 

In the next group of cases, an apparition coinciding with the death 
represents, not the dying person herself, but a near relative of hers. 
There are four cases of this type in the Census ; of these, one was 

s 2 

260 Report on the Census of Hallucinations. [chap. 

published in Phantasms of the Living, Vol. I., p. 357 (No. 124), and 
two others are given below. 

Such cases need present no difficulty on the telepathic theory. 
Indeed it may be rather said that the absence of any cases of the kind 
would render the theory improbable. They raise the question, however, 
who the "agent" — the person, that is, from whom the telepathic 
communication comes — is, in hallucinations coinciding with a death. 
Usually it seems natural to assume that it is the dying person, and in 
some cases — as we have seen in Chapter XII — this view is supported 
by evidence that the dying person's thoughts were specially directed to 
the percipient. The mere fact, however, that the apparition represents 
a particular person does not prove that that person was the agent. It 
is possible for an agent to transfer to a percipient an image of some 
third person, and it is possible for a percipient to embody an impression 
telepathically received in a form suggested by his own mind and not 
by the agent's. As an instance where it seems improbable that the 
pex'son whose figure was seen was the agent, see Mrs. McAlpine's 
vision of her baby nephew at the time of its death (printed at p. 281) 
after another experience of the same percipient.) It seems more likely 
in this case that the agent was some one with the child, than the child 
itself, aged six months. In one of the death coincidences quoted in 
Chapter XII., (No. 579. 24, p. 223), there is some reason for thinking 
that the agent was the sister who telegraphed the news rather than the 
decedent; because (1) the hallucination nearly coincided in time with 
the despatch of the telegram, while it occurred some hours after the 
death, and (2) it foretold the arrival of the telegram. These cases, 
of course, differ from those we are about to quote, in that the appa- 
rition is of the dying person, but they should be kept in view in 
interpreting them. 

(341. 21.) From Miss W. 

October nth, 1891. 
"It was one Sunday morning at church, during morning service. I 
looked up from my Prayer-book and saw the figure of a man standing in what 
had been an empty seat ojiposite me. He turned half round and looked at 
me with a fixed, agonised gaze. I felt pei-turbed and very annoyed at his 
behaviour, when he bowed his head as though something were passing over 
him, and, to my utter astonishment, vanished. This was on Sunday, 

, 1885. I was singing the Psalms, with my brother sharing 

the same book. I was in good health, and quite free from grief or anxiety. 

My age was 22. 

"The appearance was that of an acquaintance of mine, who from his 
seat m church was much given to staring at me during service. I lieard 
afterwards that at tliat exact time he was at the deathbed of his mother. 

' ' This was the only occasion [on which I have had such an experience]. 

XIV.] Apparitions coinciding with other Deaths. 261 

Miss W. , in answer to further questions, informed us that she did not 

know that Mr. 's mother was ill. She had been delicate for years, but 

she had not heard that she was at all less strong then than usual. 

Mrs. Sidgwick called on Miss W. on December 5th, 1891, and gives the 
following account, written at once, of what she heard from her : — 

" Miss W. was at the west end of the church. The figure appeared in 
the choir at the opposite side, so that she had a three-quarters view of it, as 
it were. It was the gentleman's usual seat. She had the impulse to say to 

her brother : ' How could Mr. have got there without our seeing him 

going across ? ' but restrained herself because of the way he was looking at 
her, which made her angry. She thinks the appearance may have lasted 
through half a Psalm, but is not sure. I think she most likely did not keep 
her eyes on it, and when she looked again it was gone. Anyhow, she 
cannot give any account of its vanishing ; it was just not there. Only then 
did she realise that what she had seen was not real, and it gave her a shock. 
She had a difficulty in standing through the remainder of the Psalms, her 
knees shook so much ; but looking over the same book with her brother, she 
would not give way. She had no unusual feelings before the figure vanished. 
Her sight is good and she would see a real person quite clearly at that 

" She heard, when she got home, that Mrs. had died that morning, 

at the time she saw her son, as she believes. 

" She has never told anyone of this experience, so that no further 
evidence can be obtained." 

We have verified the date of Mrs. 's death independently through 

a local paper. 

In this case the coincidence appear to have been very close. In the 

absence of evidence either from Mr. or liis mother, it is not 

possible for us to feel sure which was the agent. The fact that Mrs. 

was more clearly passing through a crisis is an argument for 

supposing that the telepathic impression came from her, but on the 

other hand there is reason to think that Mr. and the percipient 

were more interested in each other than the dying lady and the 
percipient were, and his thoughts may well have turned to her at the 
moment of his mother's death. 

In the next case the fact that the person whose figure was seen can 
hardly by any noi'mal means have known of his mother's death at the 
time of the hallucination makes it difficult to suppose that he was 
the agent, without a telepathic hypothesis so complicated as to be 
extremely improbable. 

(338. 20.) From Miss C. L. Hawkins-Dempster. 

(The account was written in 1890). 

24, Portman-square, W. 
"I ran downstairs and entered the drawing-room at 7.30 p.m., believuig 
I had kept my two sisters waiting for dimier. They had gone to dmner, the 

262 Report on the Census of Hallucinations. [chap. 

room was empty. Behind a long sofa I saw Mr. H. standing. He moved 3 
steps nearer. I heard nothing. I was not at all afraid or surprised, only 
felt concern as [to] what he wanted, as he was in South America. I learnt 
next morning that at that moment his mother was breathing lier last. I 
went and arranged her for bui'ial, my picture still hanging above the bed, 
between the portraits of her two absent sons. 

" I was in the habit of hearing often from [Mr. H.], and was not at that 
moment anxious about Mrs. H.'s health, though she was aged. 

' ' I had had 25 days before the grief of losing an only brother. No [other 
persons were present at the time]. 

"C. L. H. Dempster." 

In answer to further inquiries, we learnt from Miss Hawkins-Dempster 
that the above incident occurred on New Year's Eve, 1876-77 ; the room was 
lighted by " one bright lamp and a fire," and the figure did not seem to go 
away, she merely "ceased to see it." She used to see Mrs. H. often, and 
was in no anxiety as to her health at the time. Mrs. H. was very old, but 
not definitely ill. Miss Hawkins-Dempster corrected her first statement as 
to the exactness of the coincidence by informing us that Mrs. H. died in the 
morning of the same day on which the apparition was seen. 

Miss Hawkins-Dempster mentioned what she had seen to her sister, who 
thus corroborates : — 

Juhi loth, 1892. 

" I heard of my sister Miss C. L. Hawkins-Dempster's vision of Mr. H. 
in the drawing-room at 7.30 p.m. on New Year's Eve, 1876-7, immediately 
after it happened, and before liearing that Mi's. H. died the same day, the 
news of which reached us later that evening. -g -g j)gjy|-pgj,j,j^ " 

We have verified the date of death at Somerset House. 

Miss Hawkins-Dempster has had one other experience. While sitting 
at luncheon with her sister and their governess, they all saw their hostess, 
who was, in fact, writing in her own room, and probably conscious that she 
was late for luncheon, enter the room. She actually came in about ten 
minutes later. This occurred in 1848 or 1849. 

Mr. Myers had an interview with the Misses Hawkins-Dempster on 
July 16th, 1892, and writes as follows the next day : — 

" Miss C. Hawkins-Dempster's veridical experience is well remembered 
by both sisters. The decedent was a very old lady, who was on very intimate 
terms with them, and had sjDecial reasons for thinking of Miss C. Hawkins- 
Dempster in connection with the son whose figure aijjjeared. He was at the 
other side of the world, and almost certainly had not heard of his mothei''s 
death at the time. 

" The figure was absolutely life-like. Miss Hawkins-Dempster noticed 
the slight cast of the eye and the delicate hands. The figure rested one 
hand on the back of a chair and held the other out. Miss Hawkins- 
Dempster called out, ' What can I do for you ? ' forgetting for the moment 
the impossibility that it could be the real man. Then she simply ceased to 
see the figure. 

XIV.] Unrecognised coincident Apparitions. 263 

' ' She was in good healtli at the time, and her thoughts were occupied 
with business matters." 

Here the apparition followed the death by some hours ; so that, if 
Mrs. H. was the agent, the telepathic impression must either have 
remained latent for some time, or have been produced by the agent 
after death. In this the case resembles other death-coincidences in 
which the apparition followed the death. This class of experiences will 
be further discussed in Chapter XVII. 

Unrecognised Hallucinations coinciding with Death. 

We come next to cases in which the hallucinatory figure or voice 
which coincides with a death is unrecognised, or in which the 
coinciding (visual) hallucination does not amount to a human figure 
at all. 

We have in our present collection two cases where a human figure 
seen at the time of death is not recognised as representing any known 
person. In the first of these, the dying person was one whom the 
percipient had never even heard of, and therefore could not be 
expected to recognise. 

(317. 6.) From Miss S. Money. 

(The account was written in 1890). 

47, Upper Baker-street, Regent's Park, N.W. 

"At Redhill, on Thanksgiving Day, between 8 and 9 in the evening, 
when I was taking charge of the little daughter of a friend, during [my] friend's 
absence for that evening, I left the child sleeping in the bedroom, and went 
to drop the blinds in two neighbouring rooms, being absent about three 
minutes. On returning to the child's room, in the full light of the gas- 
burner from above I distinctly saw, coming from the child's cot, a white 
figure, which figure turned, looked me full in the face, and passed down the 
staircase. I instantly followed, leaned over the banisters in astonishment, 
and saw the glistening of the white drapery as the figure passed down the 
staircase, through the lighted hall, and silently through the hall door itself, 
which was barred, chained, and locked. I felt for the moment perfectly 
staggered, went back to the bedroom, and found the child peacefully sleep- 
ing. I related the circumstance to the mother immediately on her return 
late that night. She was incredulous, but said that my description of the 
figure answered to that of an invalid aunt of the child's. The next morning 
came a telegram to say that this relative, who had greatly wished to see her 
niece, had died between 8 and 9 the previous evening. 

" I had just put down the Pickwick Papers with which I had been 
whiling the time, was free from trouble, and in good health. 

" No one was in the house but myself, the child, and one servant, who, 
at the time, was in the kitchen, dressed in black. 

264 Report on the Census of Hallucinations. [chap. 

"This is the only experience of this nature I have ever had. 

"P.S. — The writer cannot give the date in figures without reference to 
an almanack of that year, but is certain that this occurred on the evening of 
Thanksgiving Day for the recovery of the Prince of Wales [i.e., February 

In answer to our inquiries, the collector, Miss B. Garnett writes : — 
Highlands, Clarendon-road, Lewisham, S.E., December 20th, 1890. 

"I obtained lately an interview with Miss Money, and wrote down her 
replies to the four questions enclosed. This was all the information she was 
able to give. I should state that Miss Money's rather interesting experience 
was told me lojig before I was asked to collect answers for the Society, and 
then merely was told by her in the course of conversation, when I had been 
expressing my scepticism about all so-called t;2yirit'nal manifestations. She 
then said she had been utterly sceptical until she herself met with this 

The replies enclosed were : — 

"1. The child's mother died about 10 or 11 years ago. 

" 2. Miss Money did not even know of the existence of the aunt at the 
time of [her] experience. 

"3. Miss Money has scruples about giving the name without permission. 
She states that the aunt was a single woman, and a step-sister of the father 
of the child, and that the aunt was not living near. 

"4. As the lady (the aunt) was no acquaintance of Miss Money's, and as 
she heard no further details, she knows of no further way of proving the 
fact. Miss Money lost sight of the parents, having been abroad herself for 
many years afterwards." 

Miss Garnett says further, in speaking of the original account, which was 
first given to her verbally by Miss Money, ' ' It was clearly and repeatedly 
given, amid many critical suggestions on my part. I may add that Miss 
Money's testimony on any subject is one that I have always found reliable. 
I merely add this because there are so many people who seem scarcely able 
to help exaggerating in the direction of the particular bias of their minds." 

Mr. Podmore called on Miss Money on February 2nd, 1892, and heard 
full particulars of the incident from her. He further ascertained that no 
corroboration is now obtainable, and that Miss Money has failed to obtain 
permission to give the name of the lady who died. We have therefore been 
unable to verify the date of the death. 

In this case, it is said that the percipient's "description of the 
figure answered to that of " the decedent. We cannot lay much stress 
on such a supposed correspondence, but if there really was any 
material resemblance, it may be compared to cases where some veridical 
detail not previously known to the percipient is introduced into a 
coincidental apparition, as the " waistcoat with the shiny back " in 
No. 571. 14 (see p. 237), the dressing-gown in No. 147. 23 (see p. 218), 

XIV.] Unrecognised coincident Apparitions. 265 

and the details of the scene in No. 362. 21 (see p. 217). "Where 
the appearance of the phantasm presents no details that could not 
have been evolved from the percipient's own mind, all that we have 
to suppose transferred from the one mind to the other is — to use Mr. 
Gurney's phrase {Phantasms of the Living^ Vol. I., p. -537) — a dim and 
shadowy idea ; the particular f oi'm of the hallucination depending on 
the mental processes of the percipient, who alone may supply the 
embodiment of the idea. But in certain cases, such as those above 
referred to, the hallucination includes features which could not be 
supplied by the percipient's mind, and seem in some way to be derived 
from the agent's ; it seems (see Phantasms of the Living,Yol. I., p. 555) 
" that a ready-made concrete image, and not a mere idea, has been 
transferred from one to the other." There is another peculiar feature 
in the case now before us ; viz., that there seems to be no reason 
why the apparition should have been seen at all by this particular 
person. A few instances of the same kind are recorded in Phantasms 
of the Living (see Vol. I., p. 524, and Vol. II., p. 61) and another will 
be found later in this chapter (No. 402. 8., p. 284). It is difficult to 
decide, in the present state of our knowledge, as to the right explana- 
tion of such cases ; but it may be suggested that they are quasi- 
collective in character,! the telepathic impulse reaching the percipient 
through the other person present — the child in this case, — who may 
have acted as a link between agent and percipient, because the minds 
of both were much occupied with her. 

In the second case of an unrecognised coincidental phantasm, the 
non-recognition is of a different type, the figure seen appearing 

(459. 2.) From Dr. VV. A. Jamieson. 

35, Charlotte-square, Edinburgh, June 19th, 1891. 

" I am an early riser ; the awakening bell rings usually at seven o'clock 
a.m. On the morning of December 24th, 1887, it rang a little later, about 
twenty minutes past seven. I was aroused by it, but did not immediately 
rise, though fully awake. The dawning light came in somewhat obscurely, 
as the shutters were partially closed. When just on the point of rising, I 
became conscious that a dark form, distinctly that of a female of medium 
height, was passing round the foot of my bed, and glided up to my side. 
Wlien it reached me I raised myself in bed and felt with my hand, but it 
passed through the shadow. I felt nothing, and on looking closely found 
the apparition was gone. I at once pulled my watch from under the pillow ; 
it was exactly half-past seven. 

" This occurred at 26, Rutland-street, Edinburgh. I was just on the 

1 A discussion of collective percipience will be found in the next Chapter. Com- 
pare with this case one given in Phantasms of the Living, Vol. II., p. 256. 

266 Me'port on the Census of Hallucinations. [chap. 

point of rising, was in good health, had had no worry or anxiety, and was 
then forty-eight years of age. 

"The form closely resembled that of a patient of mine whom I had seen 
the evening before. She was very ill, though quite conscious, and I had 
fcold her husband that I did not think she would live over the night. 
She was aged sixty-six, was not an interesting person ; had caused her 
friends much distress from her habits. She died as nearly as could be ascer- 
tained at 7.30 a.m., December 24th, 1887. 

"My wife was in bed, but asleep. I wakened her and told her my 
experience, impressing on her the fact that I had mentioned the circum- 
stance, though I could not explain its import, as I was not thinking of the 
lady who died at tlie time. She had seen nothing. 

"[I have] never before or since [had such an experience.] 

"W. Allan Jamieson, M.D." 

Professor Sidgwick, who called on Dr. Jamieson on September 21st, 
1891, writes on the sanie day from pencil-notes taken during the inter- 
view : — 

' ' At the time Dr. J amieson saw the female figure described in his 
statement he was in the act of getting uf), and undoubtedly quite awake. 
Though the time was 7.30 on December 24th, still, as the house looked 
south and east, and the central part of both shutters was open, enough light 
came in to enable him to see the form distinctly. He felt no ' chill ' or 
shudder, nor nervous feeling of any kind. He put out his hands to feel it, 
in order to find out what it was, having no definite idea what it would turn 
out to be. When he put out his hands the form had passed out of the light 
of the window, moving by his bedside, so that he did not see it disappear, 
but only felt that there was nothing there. 

" He first looked at his watch, ascertained the time to be 7.30, then woke 
his wife and told her what he had seen ; but the resemblance of the form to 
his patient did not occur to him at the time, so that lie did not mention it 
to his wife : it only occurred to him after tlie news of her death had reached 
him. He immediately went to see the husband, who told liim that she 
had died ' as near as I can say ' at 7.30. 

"Though he knew the woman to be dying, his mind was not occupied 
about her. When he went away after seeing her he dismissed her from 
his mind. 

" It could not possibly be a real human being, nor a reflection from 

Dr. Jamieson writes later : — 

35, Charlotte-square, Edinburgh, October 2nd, 1891. 

" Dear Sir, — I now have much pleasure in sending the statements you 
wished me to obtain in connection with the experience I had on December 
24th, 1887. I send the letter I received to-day from the lady's daughter. I 
have inquired at the Registrar's oifice and find that the husband of the 
lady registered the death as having occurred at 7.55 a.m. on December 24th, 
1887. This is certainly twenty-five minutes later than the time at which I 
saw the dark appearance enter my room. T can only say that when I called 
At the house that morning the lady's husband told me that his wife died at 

XIV.] Unrecognised coincident Aiypctritions. 


half-past seven before I mentioned anything to him, but he must have found 
that it really was later ; at least he has registered it as mentioned above. 

" W. Allan Jamieson." 

The statements enclosed are as follows : — 

(1) From Mrs. Jamieson. 
35, Charlotte-square, Edinburgh, September 28th, 1891. 

" My husband has asked me to relate what I remember of an 
occurrence on the morning of December 24th, 1887. I was asleep and had 
not risen from my bed when he woke me to tell me the following : — 

"That he had seen a dark figure come from the door on the side of 
the room furthest from him. It walked round the foot of the bed and 
came and stood at his side ; he put out his hand to feel, but encountered 
no one. He then woke me and asked if I had come to the side of his bed, 
but I told him I had not been up. On looking at his watch my husband 
found the hour to be half-past seven. 

" C. A. Jamieson." 
(2) From Mrs. 's daughter. 

October 2nd, 1891. 

"Dear Dk. Jamieson, — I just got your note last night on my return to 
town. As far as I can remember it was just about eight o'clock or a few 
minutes after that my mother died, December, 1887-" 

The non-recognition in this case appeared at the time to be due to 
the bad light, which prevented the apparition from being seen dis- 
tinctly : but an effect of this kind may be put down to the influence of 
self-suggestion. The case is analogous to those where an apparition 
becomes invisible as soon as a light is put out and reappears on the 
relighting of it (see, for instance, No. 422. 25, p. 192). It would 
seem that the telepathic impulse was prevented from reaching the 
consciousness of the percipient in the form of a completely developed 
hallucination by his subconscious idea of the difficulty of seeing it. It 
is, however, quite possible to suppose that the telepathic impression 
was altogether vague, so that there was no definite idea to be translated 
into a hallucination. As Mr. Grurney expresses it {Phantasms of the 
Living, Vol. I., p. 538, footnote), such an undistinctive idea may be 
" hurried on into hallucination, without having first declared itself 
as an idea ; it assumes the defiiiiteness of visible shape, while yet 
its content or message remains indefinite." The case would thus be 
analogous to the cloud-like stages of some hallucinations, telepathic 
and other (see Chapter VI., p. 116), and to the shrouded forms 
classed with undeveloped hallucinations (see Chapter VI., p. 119). 

In the next case, we have an unrecognised apparition which has a 
certain interest on account of its exceptionally rudimentaiy character. 
It is just one step beyond the " sense of presence," before mentioned, 
which we have regarded as not amounting to a sensory hallucination. 

268 Report on the Census of Hallucinations. [chap. 

(554. 13.) From Miss Egerton. 

Whitwell Hall, York, April 10th, 1891. 

' ' [At] Seville, April, 1882, I was leaving iny bedroom hurriedly (pro- 
bably to join my companions) when, as I opened my door, somebody 
appeared to enter, and I started hastily back; the impression disappeared 
instantaneously ; there was no one. [I was] in good health, and in no 
gTief ; [age] 36. 

"The impression was absolutely vague, as to the individuality of the 
appearance. No one [else was present]. A week after the occurrence I 
heard of the death of a favourite cousin, which happened in Java, on the 
same day. 

"Mary L. Egerton." 

In answer to inquiries. Miss Egerton writes further : — 

' ' I did not mention it to anyone at the time. I saw the figure vaguely, 
more as an obstructive object or body, as I opened the door of my bedroom 
to go into a somewhat dark passage. The impression was sufficiently strong 
to make me start hurriedly back for fear of running ' amuck ' into the 
stranger, as I thought it was. The impression was gone instantaneously, 
and I saw there was no one. The moment I heard of my cousin's death, 
I remembered the impression, and made out then that it must have been 
within a few hours of his death." 

Professor Sidgwick called on Miss Egerton in March, 1892, and writes 
from notes taken at the time: — 

March 22nd, 1892. 

' ' Miss Egerton said that when she opened her door to go out into the 
passage she had momentarily no doubt that she met, face to face, another 
human being coming in. Her impression was that it was a man, but the 
whole thing was so startling and transient that she could not be sure 
of this. She started back just as she would do to avoid a sudden collision 
with a real person. It seemed to be within a few inches of her. 

" The passage was perfectly bare; with nothing in it to produce illusion. 
It was lighted from a courtyard. (The event occurred in the Hotel de 
Paris, at Seville.) When it was over, and she found there was no person 
there, she regarded it as a momentary hallucination. 

" When the news of the cousin's death in Java came, she convinced 
herself that the coincidence in time between her experience and the death 
was tvithin an hour, allowing for difference of longitude. (The exact hour 
of the cousin's death was communicated.) The relation between the two 
was more intimate than ordinary cousinship, as they had been much with 
each other from childhood ; he was more like a younger Vjrother. 

' ' The hallucination was only of the sense of sight. It was a quite 
unique exjjerience. " 

In cases such as this and Dr. Jamieson's, the closeness of the 
coincidence and the uniqueness of the experience are specially impor- 
tant considerations in estimating the probability that the hallucination 
and the death were causally connected. 


Unrecognised coincident Voices. 


Out of 17 cases of hallucinatory lights in our Census, 7, as already- 
said (p. 125), were seen at or about the time of a death ; two of these, 
ISTo. 191. 2 (see p. 124), and No. 305. 4 (see p. 126), have been given 
already, but as evidence of a telepathic connection between death and 
hallucination we cannot lay much stress on them, since they are open 
to another interpretation. This, for various reasons, is true also, we 
think, of the remaining cases, which we do not therefore quote here. 

Of unrecognised auditory hallucinations coinciding with a death, 
"we have 8 cases. The following is one of them : — 

(561. 24.) From Mrs. E. L. Kearney. 

2, Wharton-road, West Kensington, W., November 30th, 1891. 

"I felt my bed shaken under me, and heard a gurgling noise, and a 
distinct cry for help. Time and date, about 1 p.m.. New Year's Day, 1875. 
Place, Westboume, Hermitage-road, Geelong, Victoria, Australia. 

" I was fully awake, lying in bed convalescent from an attack of scarlet 
rash. Durmg this illness the rash only remained a few hours, and I had no 
symptoms of fever, neither thirst, nor high temperature, nor derangement 
of consciousness. I was not in any grief or anxiety. Age 18. The sun 
was very bright, and it was very hot at the time. 

" I was very much aflfected by the sound and cry, but did not at the time 
associate it with any particular person. 

"No one was with me, and none shared the experience. I rang my 
bell, and on my mother coming to me, told her what had occurred. At 
about 3 o'clock the same day, a telegram was brought announcing that my 
cousin, Charles Griffith (aged 13), had been drowned in a lagoon at 1 o'clock. 
He was out shooting, and went in after a wild duck. He was an expert 

' ' My mother noted the day and hour at the time I called her, but I do 
not think any permanent record was made. 

" Gertkude E. Kearney." 

In answer to our request for further information and corroboration, 
Mrs. Kearney wrote : — 

January 17th, 1892. 

"What occurred is perfectly fresh in my memory, although it is some 
years smce it happened. I should like to add that two days previous to my 
cousin Charlie Griffith's going up the country he came to say good-bye to 
myself and my family, but as his people were afraid I might have something 
infectious, he remained at the garden gate, and called out to my mother, 
who was standing on the balcony, to say good-bye to me, as he could not 
come in. Two days later he was drowned." 

Mrs. Kearney enclosed the following note from her father. Her mother, 
being ill, could not be pressed to write any statement of her recollections. 

' ' With regard to the Charley Griffith episode, neither your mother nor I 
can call to mind any exact particulars. I do remember your returning about 
Christmas time from a visit to the Timms', and having what was supposed 
might be an attack of scarlet fever. I remember the news coming in the 

270 Report on the Census of Hallucinations. [chap. 

afternoon of 1st J anuary (year I know not) — the news of the poor boy's being 
drowned in a pool at Edmondson's station. Your mother remembers your 
calling her into your bedroom to tell her you had heard 'a cry,' or some- 
thing of that sort ; no more." 

Mrs. Kearney has had another experience mentioned in Chapter VIII. > 
p. 156. 

Both Mr. and Mrs. Kearney are known to Mr. Myers. 

Thous;h the hallucination in this case was unrecognised and did not 
indicate the person who was dying, it gave some indication of the 
nature of the death, and the evidence, therefore, for a telepathic origin 
is something more than the mere coincidence of the two events in time. 

An unrecognised auditory death-coincidence, in which the hallu- 
cination consisted merely in the hearing of the name of one of the 
percipients, will be found in Chapter XV., p. 316 (No. 138. 18). 

The hallucinations in the present collection affecting the sense of 
touch only, which are believed to have coincided with the death of a 
friend or relative, need not detain us. There are seven of these, besides 
the one quoted at p. 258. 

Hallucinations Experimentally Produced. 

We turn now to cases where some event other than the death of 
the supposed agent coincides with the hallucination in such a way as 
to suggest a causal connection between them. 

The special importance of one class among these, viz., hallucinations 
experimentally caused, (B experiencing a hallucination when A is, 
unknown to B, endeavouring by mental suggestion to induce one ia 
him), was dwelt on in Chapter I. This class is not very strongly 
represented in the present collection, probably because the experiment 
is only rarely attempted. We have four cases which belong to it more 
or less, two of them visual, one auditory, and one tactile. 

It is to be observed that the agent in the first of these cases — 
Mr. Kirk — seems to possess an unusual capacty for impressing other 
minds telepathically, as shown by his experiments in thought-trans- 
ference, a few of which have been already printed in the Journal, and 
some more of which we hope to publish in a future Part of the 

(The following case is not included in our Tables, because it occurred 
after the percipient — Miss G. — had filled up the Census form). 

(284. 19.) From Mr. Kirk. 

2, Ripon-villas, Upper Ripon-road, Plumstead, Jnhj 7th, 1890. 

" I have to inform you that from the 10th to 20th June I tried a telepathic 
experiment each night upon Miss G. I did so, as suggested by you in your 
letter of June 3rd, without her knowledge, as a preliminary to entering upon 


Experimental Hallucinations. 


experiments with her under conditions of expectancy and the recording of 
dates and hours. Each trial had for its object the rendering myself visible 
to her — simply visible. With the exception of one — which was made one 
afternoon from my office in the Arsenal — each trial took place at my house 
between the hours of 11 p.m. and 1 a.m. 

" Up to June 23rd I heard nothing direct from my ' subject.' Indirectly, 
however, I learnt that my influence was acting rather strongly. Each time 
Miss G. came to my house, while the experiments were in progress, she 
complained of being kept sleepless and restless from an uneasy feeling which 
she was unable to describe or account for. On one night, so strong was this 
uneasy feeling, she was compelled to get up, dress herself, and take to some 
needlework, and was unable to throw off the sensation and return to bed 
until 2 o'clock. I made no comments on these complaints — never dropped a 
hint, even, as to what I was doing. Under these circumstances it seemed 
probable to me that, although my influence was telling upon her, to her dis- 
comfort, I had not succeeded in the object of my experiments. Supposing 
this to be the case, and that I was only depriving her of rest, I thought it 
best to discontinue the trials for a time. 

" I felt disappointed at this apparently barren result. But, on June 2.3rd, 
an agreeable surprise was sprung upon me, in that I learnt I had most 
effectually succeeded on one occasion — the very occasion on which I had 
considered success as being highly improbable — in presenting myself to Miss 
G. As you will find in her statement, herewith enclosed, the vision was 
most complete and realistic. The trial which had this fortunate result was 
that I had made from my office and on the spur of the moment. I had been 
rather closely engaged on some auditing work, which had tired me, and as 
near as I can remember the time was between 3.30 and 4 p.m., that I laid 
down my pencil, stretched myself, and in the act of doing the latter I was 
seized with the impulse to make a trial on Miss G. I did not, of course, 
know where she was at the moment, but, with a flash, as it were, I transferred 
myself to her bedroom. I cannot say why I thought of that spot, unless it 
was that I did so because my first experiment had been made there. ^ As it 
happened, it was what I must call a ' lucky shot, ' for I caught her at the 
moment she was lightly sleeping in her chair — a condition which seems to 
be peculiarly favourable to receiving and externalising telepathic messages. 

"The figure seen by Miss G. was clothed in a suit I was at the moment 
wearing, and was bareheaded, the latter as would be the case, of course, in an 
office. This suit is of a dark reddish-brown check stuff, and it was an unusual 
circumstance for me to have had on the coat at the time, as I wear, as a rule, 
an office coat of light material. But this office coat I had, a day or so before, 
sent to a tailor to be repaired, and I had, therefore, to keep on that belong- 
ing to the dark suit. 

1 The first experiment of this series was on the night of the 10th, the successful 
experiment on the afternoon of June 11th (Wednesday). Mr. Kirk tells us that he 
made a note at the time on his blotting paper, of day and hour. Mr. Kirk had on 
four occasions during the previou.s four years tried from a distance to produce an 
impression of presence on Miss G. with considerable success, but had not tried to 
appear to her. These experiments and others are described in the Journal S.P. R., 
Vol. v., pp. 21—30. 


Report on the Census of Hallucinations . [chap. 

"I tested the reality of the vision by this dark suit. I asked, ' How was 
I dressed ? ' (not at all a leading question). The reply of Miss G. was, 
touching the sleeve of the coat I was then wearing (of a light suit), ' Not 
this coat, but tliat dark suit you wear sometimes. I even saw clearly the 
small check pattern of it ; and I saw your features as plainly as though you 
liad been bodily present. I couW. not have seen you more distinctly.' " 

Miss G.'s account is : — 

June 2Sth, 1890. 

' ' A peculiar occurrence haj^pened to me on the Wednesday of the week 
before last. In the afternoon (being tired by a morning walk), while sitting 
in an easy-chair near the window of my own room, I fell asleep. At any 
time I happen to sleep during the day (which is but seldom) I invariably 
awake witli tired uncomfortable sensations, which take some little time to 
pass off ; but that afternoon, on the contrary, I was suddenly quite wide 
awake, seeing Mr. Kirk standing near my chair, dressed in a dark brown 
coat, which I had frequently seen him wear. His back was towards the 
window, his right hand towards me ; he passed across the room towards the 
door, which is opposite the window, the space between being 15ft., the fur- 
niture so arranged as to leave just that centre clear ; but when he got about 
4ft. from the door, which was closed, he disappeared. 

' ' My first thought was, ' had this happened a few hours later I should 
have believed it telepathic,' for I knew Mr. Kirk had tried experimenting 
at different times, but had no idea he was doing so recently. Although I 
have been much interested by his conversation about psychical phenomena 
at various times during the past year, I must confess the element of doubt 
would very forcibly present itself as to whether telepathic communication 
could be really a fact ; and I then thought, knowing he must be at the office 
at the time I saw him (which was quite as distinctly as if he had been really 
in the room), that in this instance, at least, it must be purely imaginary, and 
feeling so sure it was only fancy, resolved not to mention it, and did not do 
so until this week, when, almost involuntarily, I told him all about it. Much 
to my astonishment, Mr. K irk was very pleased with the account, and asked 
me to write it, telling me that on that afternoon, feeling rather tired, he put 
down his pen for a few moments, and, to use his own words, ' threw himself 
into this room.' He also told me he had purjoosely avoided this subject in 
niy presence lately, that he might not influence me, but was anxiously hoping 
I would introduce it. 

"I feel sure I had not been dreaming of him, and cannot remember that 
anything had happened to cause me even to think of him that afternoon 
before falling asleep." 

Mr. Kirk writes later : — 

' ' I have only succeeded once in making myself visible to Miss G. since the 
occasion I have already reported, and that had the singularity of being only 
my features — my face in miniature, that is, about three inches in diameter." 

In a letter dated January 19th, 1891, Mr. Kirk says as to this last 
appearance : — 

" Miss G. did not record this at the time, as she attached no impoi-tance to 
it, but I noted the date (July 23rd) on my office blotting-pad, as it was at 
the office I was thinking of her. I say 'thinking,' because I was doing so 

XIV.] Experimental Hallucinations. 273 

in connection with another subject, and with no pui'iDose of making an ex- 
periment. I had a headache, and was resting my head on my left hand. 
Suddenly it occurred to me that my thinking about her might probably 
influence her in some way, and I made the note I have mentioned. 

Mrs. Sidgwick had a talk with Mr. Kirk and with Miss G. o\\ April 
8th, 1892, about the above incidents and other experiments in thought- 
transference between them, and writes : — 

"Mr. Kjrk's appearance to Miss 6. evidently impressed her very much. It 
was extremely realistic. She is quite sure she was awake. It was as if she 
had waked up to see it, but she had not been dreaming of Mr. Kirk. The 
figure did not look towards her or appear to take any interest in her. The 
other time she saw his face it was Hke a miniature. She did not think so 
much of that exjaerience." 

The experiment in the following case succeeded on the first trial. 

(98. 13.) From Miss Edith Maughan (now Mrs. G. Rayleigh A^icars). 

September, 1890. 

" One night in September, 1888, I was lying awake in bed reading. I for- 
get what the book was, but I had recently been studying with interest 
various cases of astral projection in Phantasms of the Living, and I distinctly 
remember making up my mind that night to try whether I could manage to 
accomplish a projection of myself by force of will-concentration. 

"The room next to mine was occupied by a friend of mine [Miss Ethel 
Thompson], who was an old acquamtance, and not at all of an excitable turn 
of mind. This room had formerly been used as a dressing-room, and there 
was a door connecting it with mine. For some years, however, it had been 
absolutely separated by the locked door, on my side of which stood a very 
heavy wardrobe, which would require two strong men to move it away. The 
only available exit from my room was the other door which opened on to 
the landing, as was also the case with the dressing-room. That night I per- 
fectly recall lying back on my pillow with a resolute but half doubtful and 
amused determination to make Miss Thompson see me. The candle was 
burning on a chair at the side of my bed, and I heard only the ticking of tlie 
clock in my room as I ' willed ' with all my might to appear to her. After 
a few minutes I felt dizzy and only half conscious. 

" I don't know huw long this state may have lasted, but I do rememlier 
emerging into a conscious state and thinking I liad better leave off, as the 
strain had exhausted me. 

" I gave up, and changing into an easy position I thought I had failed 
and needlessly fatigued myself for an impossible fancy. I blew out my 
candle ; at the instant I was startled by hearing an indistinct sound from 
the next room. It was Miss Thompson's voice raised slightly, but I could 
not distinguish more than the actual sound, which was repeated, and then 
there was silence. I wondered whether she had had a bad dream, and 
listened a short time, but did not seriously imagine that it was more than an 
accidental coincidence. Soon after my clock struck 2 (a.m.) and I fell asleep. 

1 Mr. Kirk enclosed the piece of blotting-paper mth the note. 


274 Report on the Census of Hallucinations. [chap. 

" Next morning I noticed that Miss Thompson looked rather tired at 
breakfast, but I asked no questions. Presently she said, ' Had I gone into 
her room to frighten her during the night 1 ' I said I liad not left my room. 
She declared that I seemed to her to come in and bend over her. From 
what she said I concluded it must have been between 1 and 2 a.m. Her 
own account is in the possession of the Psychical Society. All I have to 
add is, that I was in my ordinary state of health, and not at all excited, but 
merely bent on trying an experiment. " 

In a letter accompanying this. Miss Maughan says : — 

" I can't find the fact noticed in my diary for 1888. I only keep a very 
tiny one, just f')r the sake of entering letters, &c., and have no allusions to 
what happens as a rule. I fancy, though, that it was on the night of 
September lOtli. Does Miss Thompson give any exact date ? for if it 
approximates to tliat, it would be the correct one. I know it was just at 
that time, because it was during her last visit at this house. " . , . 

Miss Thom]3Son writes : — 

The Chimes, Grove Park, Cliiswick, December 30th, 1889. 

" During the summer of 1888 (end of August) I was staying with the Miss 
Maughans in Lincolnshire. We were interested in Tlieosophy, and had 
been discussing the phenomena of peoj^le leaving their bodies and appearing 
in their astral forms. I am not a good sleejaer, but hot at all of a nervous 
temperament. I stayed awake one night until two or three. I was per- 
fectly wide awake, when suddenly I saw Miss Edith Maughan standing by 
my bedside in her ordinary dark dressing-gown. The moonlight came in at 
the window sufficiently for me to distinguish her face clearly, and her figure 
partially. I sat up in bed, and said, rather crossly, ' What do you want 
here, Edith 1 ' I thought she had come for some joke. As she didn't 
answer, I immediate}]! struck a light,, but she was gone. It is a mistake that I 
screamed out. I may have sjooken sufticiently loudly to be heard in the next 
room. I thought slie had got out of the room with astonishing rapidity, 
but I didn't trouble much about it. The next morning I asked why she 
came into my room. She denied having done so, but said she had thought 
of coming, but that as it might disturb me she decided not. She said she sat 
up in bed, and for the sake of something to do was willing lierself to go out 
of her body and come to me, and mentioned about the time I saw her. 
Although it is more than a year ago, I remembei' the incident clearly, as it 
made a distinct imjjression upon me. 

"Ethel Thompson." 

Mrs. Sidgwick has talked over this experience with Miss Maughan and 
Miss Thompson separately, and questioned them specially as to the possi- 
bility that Miss Maughan had really gone into Miss Thompson's room 
unconsciously. They were both quite certain that she had not done so, 
Miss Thomj^son dwelling on the impossible rapidity of the disappeai-ance, 
and Miss Maughan on the fact that, when she roused herself, she was lying 
in the same position as before — hands clasped and feet crossed in a special 
manner, which, she had been told, is adopted by Eastern people wishing to 
concentrate themselves on anything, and which she adopted deliberately on 
this account. 


Experimental Hallucinations . 


It is interesting that Miss Maughan has appeared, but unintention- 
ally, on other occasions to other percipients, while one of her sisters 
was the agent in No. 105. 1 (see p. 291). The following is an account 
of another of Miss Maughan's appearances. 

[Extract from letter received by Miss Maughan on March 12th from Miss 
Gatty. The original letter is in our possession.] 

Holbein House, Sloane-square, S.W., Wednesday, March 11th, 1891. 

' ' I wonder whether you have been experimenting psychically, or if it be 
a mere curious coincidence that I should have had a distinct vision of you 
last night. 

"The facts are these. Being very seedy yesterday — writing to you 
probably tired me a good deal, and feeling very helpless where you were 
concerned distressed me more than a little — I went off to [bed] at about 
8 o'clock. I read for an hour or thereabouts, and then fell asleep. I woke 
again when mother passed througli to go to her own room, and several times 
in the night after dreaming in an unexciting fashion. Then I lay awake for 
some time, and thought about a Roman Catholic I know, etc. 

" A little while after, I don't know what it was that made me turn my 
head towards one special corner of the room, where I saw you standing (in a 
nightdress trimmed with Swiss embroidery), in a most ill-balanced posture. 
So much did this strike me that I got out of bed (the cold of the floor was 
excessive), and went to catch you, so that you might not fall over on your 
face. You remained there until I had made the motion of touching, when I 
found nothing there any longer. This is all, except that you looked as if 
you had candlelight or some faintly perceptible yellowishness behind you. 
I went back to bed, and, not liking to disturb mother by asking her the 
time, I listened for the chimes, and shortly after heard four strike. Of 
course I didn't go to sleep again, but lighted ray candle and read until day 
dawned. At breakfast I told mother, who accounts for everything by the 
word 'somnambulism,' but says she heard me moving about. I am perfectly 
convinced of my wakefulness, but in any case, as I am unused to sleep- 
walking, that would be strange enough in itself to make me wonder if there 
should be any cause for it beyond my subjective reason of anxiety about 
you. The time is the most curious part, is it not ? " E. K. G." 

Miss Maughan writes : — 

East Kirkby Vicarage, Si^ilsby, Lincolnshire, May 21st, 1891. 

" I left W , in Derbyshire, on March 10th, and arrived at Collingham, 

in Nottinghamshire, about 3 p.m. I was not alone, or able in any way to 
give my attention to any one subject until nearly midnight, when I went to 
bed. During the whole evening, though T had been busy hearing and giving 
news of mutual interest, I had experienced a sort of ' undertone ' of thought 
about my friend E. G. [Miss Gatty]. I had only once spoken of her inci- 
dentally during the evening, but I felt my mind revert to her in a general 
way for a few moments several times. When I got to bed I lay awake and 
thought of her again. Why, I did not really know. I had heard from her 
the day before, saying she was not well, but that was not specially in my 

276 Report on the Census of Hallucinations. [chap. 

mind, as I did not suppose she was more than temporarily indisposed. I 
remember wondering at the time why she was so present to my mind, as I 
had a great many things to think of that day totally apart from any connec- 
tion with her. 

"I fell asleep at last, to wake suddenly. It must have been after 
3 a.m., as the fire had burnt very low — almost out. 

' ' During the short time I lay awake I remember cleaidy that the thought 
of E. G. returned strongly to my mind. I felt an instinctive turning 
towards her for the mental sympatliy certain circumstances might render me 
in need of, and I felt with a sort of flash that she would be better able to 
understand what I wanted than any friend I had. I know I dwelt on this 
with strengthening confidence until I fell asleep. 

' ' I had not been dreaming consciously of anything : I merely woke up, 
thought of E. G., and mentally claimed her sympathy, but with no intention 
tohatemr of trying to influence her in any possible way. The whole attitude 
of my mind was unconscious and involuntary, and, but for the letter 1 
received from her on the 12th, I should have attached no importance to the 
matter. " Edith Maughan. " 

On another occasion, in 1886 or 1887, Miss Maughan was staying in the 
house of Mr. T. [assumed initial], and Mrs. T. one evening thought she saw 
her for a moment standing in the doorway when she was really in another 
room. Mr. and Mrs. T. together also saw her later on the same day going 
downstairs into a room. They followed, and found the room empty. Miss 
Maughan having gone to bed. 

Miss Maughan herself says of this case : — 

"The being seen by Mr. T. is not so positive to my mind. I was very 
ill at the time, and any mistaken impression must rest upon his shoulders. 
I have argued the possibility of my being seen in reality, but he and his 
wife appear convinced. I can't be sure about it myself." 

Mrs. Sidgwick writes : — 

June 2&th, 1891. 

' ' I saw Miss Edith Maughan, and also Mrs. T. , with whom she is staying, 
this afternoon. In the case where Mr. and Mrs. T. were the percijiients. Miss 
Maughan was simply sitting in the drawing-room, wishing that Mr. T. would 
consent to her going home, because .she felt so ill. Mr. and Mrs. T. were in 
the passage talking. Mr. T. said he had forgotten to say good-night to 
Miss Maughan. Mrs. T. said, ' I think she has gone upstairs.' He replied, 
' No, I saw her go into the study.' Mrs. T. said, ' Oh, I think I did too ' ; 
and they went to look, and she was not there. I did not gather that the 
figure was very clearly seen in this case. It was more distinct on the other 
occasion, which occurred on the same afternoon, when Mrs. T. saw Miss 
Maughan looking over the shoulder of a man to whom she (Mrs. T.) was 
talking in the dining-room. 

" As to the appearance to Miss Gatty, Miss Maughan is quite sure that 
she did think of her in a special way, as the person who would be able to 
help her in an anticipated difficvdty. This suddenly occurred to her in the 
middle of the night. It appears that Miss Gatty was troubled about Miss 
Maughan, wishing she could help her in her difliculty. Miss Maughan told 


Experimental Hallucinations. 


me that she had written to Miss Gatty about this difficulty, and begged her 
to write to her often while it lasted. Miss Maughan is not sure whether 
the embroidery seen on the apparition by Miss Gatty was of the kind that 
she was wearing then." 

The tactile experience referred to on p. 270 occurred in an experi- 
ment which — as the percipient, Miss C. M. Campbell, says — cannot be 
called a success. Her friend, Miss Despard, had agreed to try to appear 
to her, without fixing the days beforehand ; and it is remarkable that 
a sense of presence, and in one case a soft touch as if some one were 
stroking her hair, were felt by Miss Campbell on the only two nights 
on which Miss Despard made the attempt ; but that was all that 
occurred. The letters and notes relating to the experiments have been 
submitted to us. 

A seemingly telepathic visual experience of Miss Campbell's has been 
printed in Chapter IV., p. 85. (See also Procecdfiig.s S. P. R. , Vol. VIII, pp. 
314 and 324). She has also carried out some other successful experiments 
in thought-transference with Miss Despard, an account of which was printed 
in the Journal S. P. R., January, 1893. 

The experiment in which the auditory hallucination occurred was 
of an entirely different kind. It is as follows : — 

(78. 14.) From Mrs. Raines. 

(The account was written in 1889.) 

46, Sussex-gardens, Hyde Park, W. 

" At 20 minutes to 11 on the night when Mr. Irving Bishop took up 
Mr. Labouchere's challenge to read the number of a note enclosed in an 
envelope, I heard my husband's voice say, quite loud and distinctly, ' He 
has read the number of the note.' It was so distinct that for a moment 
I could not believe he was not in the room. My next thought was to 
ascertain the exact time. I was in our own dining-room. 

"I was working, and expecting my husband's return, he having gone to 
the seance. I had asked him to try and will me to know if the note was 
read, and he said the trial would take place from about 9.30 to 10 o'clock. 
So at that hour I fixed my mind intently on the subject, but as there was no 
result I gave up trying, and was not thinking of the note when I heard 
the voice. When he did return his first words were, ' Well, he read the 
number of the note, and it was exactly 20 minutes to 11 when he read it.' 
He afterwards told me he was one of the committee chosen to sit on the 
platform, and see fair play. 

" It was my husband's voice, and I believed him to be on his way home 
at the time I heard it. 

' ' I was quite alone. 

" I did not make any notes, as the experiment was only attempted out of 
curiosity, and the intimation reaching me so much later than I expected, 
made me believe at the time that it had failed. 

" Kate Raines." 

278 Report on the Census of Hallucinations. [chap. 

General Raines writes: — 

46, Sussex-gardens, Hyde Park, November 'ktli, 1889. 

"Dear Sir, — Mrs. Raines has handed to me your letter of the 15th 
October, in which you ask if I can at all contribute to the account she 
wrote you of the night of the thought-reading by Mr. Bishop of the 

"Yes, I quite remember being one of the chosen from the audience 
to form the committee on the stage at St. James's Hall, to see fair play 
Mrs. Raines had asked me to try and will that she at home should know 
the result before I returned, and 1 said the note will probably be read about 
10 o'clock, but owing to many things that took place on tlie stage the actual 
time was 20 minutes to 11 o'clock. I quite remember coming home at 
about a quarter to 12, and on my entering the dining-room she at once said, 
' Mr. Bishop has read the note, ' and narrated how she had heard my voice 
telling her that Mr. B. had done so. 

"Julius Raines." 

Mr. Podmore writes:— 

November 25^/^, 1891. 
"I called on General and Mrs. Raines to-day. They could add nothing 
further to the story; except that Mrs. Raines told me tliat, in the Irving- 
Bishop case, she went out into the liall, after hearing the voice, in order to 
note the time by the clock there. The voice sounded quite real and lifelike. 
The incident occurred about 6 or 7 years ago, they think. Mrs. Raines 
added accounts of two prophetic dreams, fulfilled ; both of wliich accounts 
General Raines, to whom the dreams wei-e told before fulfilment, cor- 
roborated. " 

The arrangement made beforehand in this case may have had some 
influence in inducing the hallucination, which, it will be observed, 
however, conveyed the correct one of the two possible alternatives, 
and gave this information at the right time, and after the percipient 
had given up expecting it. 

Hallucinations Coinciding tvith Illness and Accidents. 

In the next set of cases to be considered, the hallucination occurs 
during a sudden or serious illness of the supposed agent, which was 
unknown to tlie percipient. There are eleven cases of recognised 
apparitions under these circumstances, and three of recognised voices, 
also three cases in which the voice was not recognised. ^ The following 
four, — together with one already published in Fhantasms of the 
Living (Vol. II., p. 526, No. 572), — are, we think, those in which 
the evidence for a telepathic origin is the best. Mrs. McAlpine, the 
percipient in the first case, belongs to a small but interesting class 
of percipients who have had several experiences, all of which they 
believe to have been veridical. Only three of hers have, however, been 

1 In 0 out of these 17 cases, the illness ended fatally; in 4 cases the j:)atient 
recovered, and in the remaining 4 cases it is not stated whether he did so or not. 

XIV.] Apparitions Coinciding with Illness. 279 

communicated to us ; the remainder being, we understand, of too 
intimate a nature to be communicated to strangers. 

(458.9.) From Mrs. McAlpine. 

(The following account was enclosed in a letter, dated April 12th, 1892. 
We had previously received a somewhat briefer account, dated May 7th, 1891, 
which agrees in all essential particulars with the one printed below.) 

Garscadden, Bearsden, Glasgow. 

" On the 25th March, 1891, my husband and I were staying at Furneso 
Abbey Hotel, Barrow-in-Furness, with a friend of ours, the late Mr. A. D. 
Bryce Douglas, of Seafield Tower, Ardrossan. He was managing director of 
the 'Naval Construction and Ai-manients Company, ' and had resided at Furness 
Abbey Hotel for some eighteen months or more. He had in\-ited us, along 
with a number of other friends, to the launch of the Empress of China. ^^ e 
breakfasted with Mr. Bryce Douglas on the day of the launch, the 25th, and 
afterwards saw the launch, had luncheon at the shipyard, and returned to tlie 
hotel. He appeared to be in his usual health and spirits (he was a power- 
fully -budt man, and justly proud of his tine constitution). The following 
day (Thursday) he left with a party of gentlemen, to sail from Liverpool to 
AjL-di'OSsan, on the trial trip of tlie Empress of Japan, (another large steamer 
which had been built at his yard). 

" We remained on at the hotel for some days with our son Bob, aged 23, 
who was staying there, superintending work which Mr. McAlpme was carry- 
ing on at Barrow. 

"On the Monday night, the 30th, I went upstairs after dinner. On my 
way down again I saw Mr. Bryce Douglas, standuig in the doorway of his sit- 
ting-room, I saw hmi quite distinctly. He looked at me with a sad expres- 
sion. He was wearing a cap which I had never seen him wear. I walked on and 
left him standing there. It was then about ten minutes to eight. I told my 
husband and Bob. We all felt alarmed, and we immediately sent the follow- 
ing telegram, ' How is Mr. Bryce Douglas i ' to Miss Caldwell, his sister-in- 
law, who kept house for him at Seafield. It was too late for a reply that 
night. On Tuesday morning we received a wire from lier ; it ran thus : 
' JVIr. Bryce Douglas dangerously ill. ' That telegram was the first intimation 
of his illness which reached Barrow. As will be seen in the account of his 
illness and death in the Barrow News, he died on the following Sunday, 
and we afterwards ascertained from Miss Caldwell that he was unconscious 
on Monday evening, at the time I saw him. 

" My husband and [step] son can corroborate this, and I have also letters 
which bear out my statements." 

In her earlier account IMrs. McAlpine states that she ' ' was in good 
health, and in no grief or anxiety whatever." Her age was 26. 

Mrs. McAlpine enclosed a copy of the Bar row News for April 11th, 1891, 
containuig a memoir of Mi-. Bryce Douglas, and a full account of his last 
illness and death. It appears from this account that he left Barrow on 
Thursday, March 26th, to join the steamer Empress of Japjari,. He was 
noticed by his friends to be far from well on Wednesday, the previous day, 
on the occasion of the launch of the Empress of China, and was advised to 
go home. He did not do so, however, until the Sunday, when he was put 

280 Report on the Census of Hallucinations. [chap. 

ashore at Ardrossan, and walked liome to Seafield— a distance of nearly two 
miles. His medical man was sent for the same day, and the case was con- 
sidered serious from the first, and on tlie following Thursday the doctors 
pronounced it hoi^eless. He died on April 5th, at about 5 a.m. 

From the evidence which follows it seems clear that if any anxiety as to 
his health was felt before he left Barrow, as suggested in the newspaper 
report, Mrs. McAlpine knew nothing of it. 

Mr. Myers writes :— 

" I discussed the incident connected with the death of Mr. Bryce 
Douglas with Mr. and Mrs. McAlpine and Mr. McAlpine, jun., on February 
24th, 1892. I believe that their evidence has been very carefully given. 
Mr. McAlpine knew Mr. Bryce Douglas intimately. Mr. Bryce Douglas 
was a rolnist and vigorous man, and disliked ever to be supposed to be°ilL 
Mr. McAlpine tlierefore felt great unwillingness to telegraph to him abo«t 
his liealth, but from his previous knowledge of phenomena occurring to Mrs. 
McAlpine, he felt sure that her vision must be in some sense veridical." 

Mrs. McAlpine's husband and his son corroborate as follows 

A2)ril, 1892. 

"I was at Barrow on the 25th of March of last year (1891), and 
distinctly remember the incident of the following Monday night. I can 
bear testimony to the statements made by my wife and son. 

" Robert McAlpine." 

Garscadden House, A2ml 4f/(, 1892. 
" I was living for several months in the Furness Abbey Hotel, at Barrow- 
m-Furness, and I remember father and mother coming for a few days in 
order to see the launch of the Empress of China on tlie 25th of March, 1891, 
and on the following day (Thursday) Mr. Bryce Douglas (who was then m his 
usual health) left with a party of friends on the trial trip of the Empress of 
Jcvpan. I also distinctly remember that the following Monday night (30th) 
my father and I were sitting at the drawing-room fire after dinner, and 
mother came in looking very pale and startled, and said she had been upstairs 
and had seen Mr. Bryce Douglas standing at the door of his sitting-room (he 
had used this sitting-room for nearly two years). Both my father and I felt 
anxious, and after some discussion we sent a telegram to Mr. Bryce Douglas's 
residence at Ardrossan asking liow lie ^v^\.s, and the following morning" had 
the reply, ' Keeping Ijetter, but not out of danger,' or words to that eflect. 
I can assert positively that no one in Barrow knew of his illness until after 
the receipt of that telegram. 

"Robert McAlpine, Jun." 
Mrs. McAlpine w^rote to some of the persons who knew of the circum- 
stances at the time, asking for their recollections of them, and the letters 
that follow were sent Ijy her to us in their original envelopes. 

1. From Miss Caldwell, sister-in-law of Mr. Bryce-Douglas :— 

[Post-mark, February 8th, 1892.] 
" • • • I can remember perfectly well the [telegram] you sent on 
Monday, the ;jOth of March, tlie day after [Mr. Bryce Douglas] arrived 


Apparitions Coinciding luith Illness. 


home, and I was very much surprised at receiving it, as I did not think any- 
one knew he was so ill ; but I remembered afterwards that you and Mr. 
McAlpine were at the launch of the Empress of China, and Mr. Bryce Douglas 
was rather complaining at that time, so I thought you would want to know 
if he was better. The contents of the telegram were — as far as I can re- 
member — ' Kindly let us know if Mr. Bryce is better.' " 

2. From Miss Charlton, daughter of Mr. Charlton, of Barrow-in-Furness. 
(Mr. and Mrs. McAlpine and their son had spent the Sunday, March 29th, 
at the house of Mr. Charlton, who was also a personal friend of Mr. Bryce 

February loth, 1892. 

" . . . [My father] says I am to tell you that he can quite bear out 
all you have said — indeed, we all can, for on the Sunday you were here, we 
were all quite unconscious of the fact that Mr. Douglas was ill. Indeed, it 
was not until the Tuesday after (Easter Tuesday) that father heard by tele- 
gram — his first intimation — which ran as follows: — 'I have been very ill, 
&c. We also did hear of what you saw at the hotel . . . and we 
thought it a very singular coincidence at the time." 

Mrs. Scarlett, the wife of the proprietor of the Furness Abbey Hotel, 
also confirms the sending of the telegram. 

Of the other two experiences communicated to us by Mrs. McAlpine, one 
is the following death-coincidence, which, however, we have not counted in 
Chapter XII., because of her unenumerated experiences, all of which, as 
has been said, she believes to have been telepathic. 

April mh, 1892. 

"I remember my brother, who lived some six miles from us, writing a 
postcard to mamma, saying, ' Come up to see us to-day, the children have 
colds, ' or some such words, not indicating anything serious, or any particular 
child. We were not alarmed, but mamma drove to see them about 1 o'clocic 
in the day. At 6 o'clock I was crossing the hall and saw, as in a cloud, the 
baby (aged about 6 months) lying dead. I looked at the clock and told a 
servant, who was the only other person in the house, that the child was. 
dead. She was shocked, and asked if I had had a telegram. I told her what 
I had seen. Next morning I had a letter from mamma telling me that the 
baby had died at 6 o'clock the previous evening. She remembers the occurr- 
ence, and can give the exact date, which I have forgotten." 

The letter printed below, to Mrs. McAlpine from her mother, corrobo- 
rates both the incidents already described : — 

Fehntary 8th, 1892. 
" I remember perfectly that you wrote me from Barrow — from the 
Furness Abbey Hotel — saying you had had a bad shock, that you were 
passing along a corridor and you saw Mr. Bryce Douglas in his room, stand- 
ing and looking at you — knowing that he had left early in the day (it was 
then evening) you were alarmed and got your husband to wire an inquiry 
about his friend — that the rej^ly was ' He is very ill. ' You wrote that letter- 
the morning after the appearance. 

"I also remember very clearly abotxt your brother Ben's little child. 
Tou and I only were at home here. I got a note asking me to go to his. 


Report on the Census of Hallucinations. [chap. 

house, as the little ones had colds and their mother was anxious, but there 
was nothing to cause you to expect bad news. I went, and the poor baby 
was dying when I arrived, and at 6 o'clock was dead. At that exact time 
you told the maid that the doctor's baby was dead. She knew the hour, 
she told me long afterwards, because you told her to look at the clock. When 
I got liome, in a few clays, I asked you, ' Were you shocked when the 
messenger came saying the poor little baby was dead ? ' You replied, ' 0\\, 
no ; I knew at the time it died.' And either then or soon after you said, 
' I saw it.' " 

Witli regard to the exact date of the baby's death, Mrs. McAlpine wrote 
again later to lier mother, and received the following reply : — 

Oetoher, 1893. 

" [The baby] died on Saturday, April 6th, 1888. . . I have never 
forgotten the very strange circumstance of how you told me when I got 
horne that you saw the poor little child, the time being exactly when she 
died. You did not know previously that slie was sei'iously ill.'' 

For another of Mrs. McAlpine's experiences, see p. 332. 

The following has already been referred to as one of the rare cases 
in which a note of the phenomenon was not only taken at the time but 
preserved. Here, as will be seen, the apparition occurs within the last 
32 hours of a brief fatal illness of which the percipient had no know- 

(660. 6.) From Miss Hervey, 

9, Tavistock Crescent, W., April 2Sth, 1892. 

"I saw the figure of my cousin (a nurse in Dublin) coming upstairs, 
■dressed in grey. I was in Tasmania, and the time that I saw her was 
between 6 and 7 p.m. on April 21st, 1888. 

"I had just come in from a ride and was in the best of health and 
spirits. I was between 31 and 32 years of age. 

"I had lived with my cousin, and we were the greatest of friends, but my 
going to Tasmania in 1887 had, of course, sejjarated us. She was a nurse, 
and at the time I saw her in A^jril, 1888, she was dying of typhus fever, a 
fact unknown to me till 6 weeks after her death. Her illness lasted only 5 
days, and I lieard of her death at the same time as of her illness. 

" Tliere was no one present with me at the time, but I narrated what I 
had seen to the friend with whom I was living, and asked why my cousin, 
Ethel B. , sliould have been dressed in grey. My friend said that was the 
dress <if the nurses in that particular hospital ; a fact unknown to me. 

' ' The imj^ression of seeing my cousin was so vivid that I wrote a long 
letter to her that night, saying I had had this vision. The letter, arriving 
after she was dead, was returned to me and I destroyed it." 

"Rose B. E. I. Hervey." 

Mr. Podmore writes : — 

Jahj 21st, 1892. 

"I called on Miss Hervey to-day. She was staying at the time of her 
experience witli Lady H. Miss Hervey and Lady H. had just returned 


Apparitions Coinciding luith Illness. 


from a drive, and Miss Hervey was leaving lier room to cross the upper 
landing to Lady H.'s room to have tea. On passing the stairs she saw the 
figure coming up. She recognised it at once and ran away to Lady H., 
without waiting to see the figure disajapear, and told her what she had seen. 
Lady H. laughed at her, but told her to note it in her diary. This Miss 
Hervey did. I saw the entry : — ' Saturday, April 21st, 1888, 6 p.m. Vision 
of [nickname given] on landing in grey dress. ' The news of death did not 
arrive till June. Date of death, April 22nd, 1888, at 4.30 p.m." 

We have seen a copy, retained by Miss Hervey, of a letter giving an 
account of Miss Ethel B.'s death. It was written on the evening of Sunday, 
April 22nd, 1888. The letter speaks of Miss B. liaving been "so heavy with 
fever all through. " The crisis of the illness began at 4 a.m. on the 22nd. 
About 10 she got a change decidedly for the worse, and lingered on till half 
past four, when she died. Miss B.'s relations were unable to be with her. 

The difference of time between Tasmania and Dublin is about 10 hours, 
so that the apparition preceded the deatli by about thirty-two hours. 

We have examined a pattern of the material used for the nurses' dress 
at the hospital where Miss B. was. It is of cotton, with a sort of check 
pattern of white and dark navy blue and a little red : it has a greyish tone 
at a little distance, but the coincidence in resjject of colour is not marked 
enough to be of any value. 

We wrote to Lady H. asking for her recollections of the matter, and 
received the following reply. 

July 30th, 1893. 

"Dear Sir, — Your letter dated April 6th has followed me back to Eng- 
land, and I should have answered it a week or two sooner, but I thought my 
son from Tasmania might be able to throw some light on your search for a 
definite corroboration of Miss Hervey's account of an apparition which she 
tells you she saw when in Tasmania with us in 1888. He, however, can do 
little more than I can for its confirmation. He recollects that Miss Hervey 
made such a statement at the time, and I seem to remember something 
about it, but nothing really definite." 

Miss Hervey has had one other apparently veridical vision. As a girl of 
14 at school, she saw an angel (like the angel in the picture called " The 
Reaper and the Flowers," with which she was familiar) carrying one of her 
schoolfellows in his arms. The vision is believed to have coincided with 
the death, but the child was known to be dying, and no corroboration is 
now obtainable. Miss Hervey has had no other visual hallucinations, but 
several auditory ones, two of which were prima facie veridical. She does 
not, however, attach much im]jortance to tliese. 

In the next case the appaiition preceded the death by two days ; 
but it will be observed that the final stage of the decedent's illness had 
lasted more than three months. The case is curious in more ways 
than one. It has already been referred to in Chapter VI., p. 128, as 
an instance of deferred recognition, and in the present Chapter, 
p. 265, as a case of a telepathic impulse seeming, so to speak, to have 
missed its mark and affected the wrong person ; and we shall have to 


Report on the Census of Hallucinations. 


refer to it again (see Chapter XVII.) as an instance of a compact to 
appear after death if possible. 

(402. 8.) 

From Countess Eugenie Kapnist. 

June 24^7^, 1891. 

" A Talta, en Fevrier, 1889, nuus finies la connaissance de M. P. et de 
sa f emme, passant la soiree chez des amis communs qui avaient tenu a nous 
r(5unir. A cette epoque, M. P. souffrait deja d'une phthisic assez avancee ; 
il venait de perdre, a Petersbourg, son frere, atteint de la meme maladie. 
On pria ma soiur de faire un peu de musique, et elle choisit au hasard le 
Prelude de Mendelssohn. A mon etonnement je vis M. P., que nous ne 
connaissions que de ce soir, aller, tres emotionne, jarendre place aupres du 
piano, et suivre avec une espece d'anxiete le jeu de ma soeur. Lorsqu'elle 
eut fini, il dit que pour quelques instants elle venait de faire ressusciter son 
frere, executant absolument de la meme maniere ce niorceau, qu'il jouait 
frequemment. Depuis, en voyant nia soevir, il aimait particulierement a 
causer avec elle. Je 'puis certifier ainsi qu'elle une conversation que nous 
eumes a une soiree, au mois de Mars. Nous parlions de la mort, chose 
frequente a Talta, toujom-s peuplee de malades : — ' Savez-vous,' disait-il a ma 
soeur, ' il me semble toujours que mon esprit est tres proche du votre ; j'ai 
la certitude de vuus avoir deja connue ; nous avons dans la realite une preuve 
que ce n'est pas en ce monde — ce sera que je vous aurais vue durant 
quelqu'autre vie prec^dente ' (il ^tait un peu spirite). ' Ainsi done, si je 
nieurs avant vous, ce qui est bien probable, vu ma maladie, je reviendrai 
vers vous, si cela m'est possible, et je vous apjjaraitrai de fa^on a ne pas vous 
effrayer desagreablement. ' Ma sceur lui repondit, jjrenant la chose tres au 
serieux, qu'elle lui rendrait la pareille si elle mourait la premiere, etj'etais 
temoin de cette promesse mutuelle. 

" Neanmoins nous fimes a peine connaissance de maison ; nous nous 
rencontrions parfois chez des amis commims, et nous le voyions souvent se 
promener sur le quai dans un paletot couleur noisette qui excitait notre 
hilarite et qui nous resta dans la memoire je ne sais plus pourqu<ji. Au mois 
de Mai, nous partions de Talta, et depuis nous eumes tant d'impressions 
diverses, nous vimes tant de monde, que jusqu'a I'hiver suivant nous 
oubliames completement M. P. et sa femme, qui rej)resentaient pour nous 
des connaissances comme on en a par centaines dans la vie. 

" Nous etions a Petersbourg. Le 11 Mars, c'etait un lundi de Careme en 
1890, nous allames au theatre voir une representation de la troupe des 
Meiningner. Je crois qu'on donnait Le Marchand de Venise. Mile. B. 
6tait avec nous, venue de Tsarskoe a cette occasion. La piece terminee, 
nous n'eumes que le temj^s de rentrer a la maison changer de toilette, apres 
quoi nous accompagnames Mile. B. a la gave. Elle partait avec le dernier 
train, qui quitte pour Tsarskoe Selo a 1 heure de la nuit. Nous rinstalhlmes 
en wagon, et ne I'y laissames qu'apres la seconde cloche de depart. 

" Notre domestique allait bien en avant de nous, afin de retrouver notre 
voiture, de maniere que, gagnant le jjerron, nous la trouviimes avancee qui 
nous attendait. Ma soeur s'assit la jjremiere ; moi je la fis attendre, descen- 
dant plus doucement les marches de I'escalier ; le domestique tenait la 
portiere du landau (Uiverte. Je montai a demi, sur le marchejjied, et 

XIV.] Apparitions Coinciding with Illness. 285 

soudain je m'arretai clans cette pose, tellement surprise que je ne compris 
plus ce qui m'arrivait. II faisait sombre dans la voiture, et pourtant en 
face de ma soeur, la regardant, je vis dans un petit jour gris qu'on eut dit 
factice, s'(5claircissant vers le poiiit qui attachait le plus mes yeux, une 
figure a la silhouette emoussee, diapliane, plutot qu'indecise. Cette vision 
dura un instant, pendant lequel, pourtant, mes yeux prirent connaissance 
des moindres details de ce visage, qui me sembla connu : des traits assez 
pointus, une raie un peu de cote, un nez prononce, un menton tres maigre a 
barbe rare et d'un blond fonce. Ce qui me frappe, lorsque j'y pense a present, 
c'est d'avoir vu les difFerentes couleurs, maigre que la lueur grisiltre, qui 
eclairait a peine I'inconnu, eut ete insuffisante pour les distinguer dans un cas 
normal. II etait sans chapeau, et en meme temps dans un paletot comme on 
en porte au sud — de couleur plutot claire — noisette. Toute sa personne avait 
un cachet de grande fatigue et de maigreur. 

' ' Le domestique, tres etonne de ne pas me voir monter, arretee ainsi sur le 
marchepied, crut que j'avais marchi5 dans ma robe et m'aida a ni'asseoir, 
pendant que je demandais a ma soeur, en prenant place a cote d'elle, si c'etait 
bien notre voiture ? A tel point j 'avals perdu la tete, ayant senti un vrai 
engourdissement de cerveau en voyant cet etranger installe en face d'elle, 
je ne m'^tais pas rendu comjate que, dans le cas d'une presence reelle d'un 
semblable vis-a-vis, ni ma sceur, ni le valet de pied ne resteraient si calme- 
ment a I'envi.sager. Lorsque je fus assise, je ne vis plus rien, et je deman- 
dais a ma soeur : — ' N'as-tu rien vu en face de toi ? ' ' Rien du tout, et quelle 
idee as-tu eue de demander, en entrant dans la voiture, si c'etait bien la 
notre?' repondit-elle en riant. Alors, je lui racontais tout ce qui pri^cede, 
d(5crivant minutieusement ma vision. ' Quelle figure connue,' di.sait-elle, ' et 
a paletot noisette, cette raie de cote, oii done I'avons nous vue ? Pourtant 
nul ne ressemble ici a ta description ; ' et nous nous creusions la tete sans 
rien trouver. Rentrees a la maison, nous racontames ce fait a notre mere ; 
ma description la fit aussi souvenir vaguement d'un visage analogue. Le 
lendemain soir (12 Mars) un jeune homme de notre connaissance, M. M. S., 
vint nous voir. Je lui r^petais aussi I'incident qui nous etait arrive. Nous 
en parlames beaucoup, mais inutilement ; je ne pouvais toujours pus appliquer 
le nom voulu a la personnalite de ma vision, tout en me souvenant fort bien 
avoir vu un visage tout pareil parmi mes nombreuses connaissances ; mais 
oil et a quelle 6poque ? Je ne me souvenais de rien, avec ma mauvaise 
m^moire qui me fait souvent d^ifaut, a ce sujet. Quelques jours plus tard, nous 
etions chez la grandmere de M. M. S. : — ' Savez vous,' nous dit-elle, 
'quelle triste nouvelle je viens de recevoir de Talta 1 M. P. vient de mourir, 
mais on ne me donne pas de details. ' Ma soeur et moi, nous nous regardames. 
A ce nom, la figure pointue et le paletot noisette retrouverent leur possesseur. 
Ma soeur reconnut en meme temps que moi, grace a ma descrijation 23r(5cise. 
Lorsque M. M. S. entra, je le priai de chercher dans les vieux journaux 
la date exacte de cette mort. Le deces etait marque au 14 du mois de Mars, 
done, deux jours apres la vision que j'avais eue. J'ecrivis a Talta pour avoir 
des renseignements. On me r^pondit qu'il gardait le lit depuis le 24 
Novembre et qu'il avait ete depuis dans un etat de faiblesse extreme, mais le 
sommeil ne I'avait point quitte ; il dormait si longtemps et si profondement, 
meme durant les dernieres nuits de son existence, que cela faisait esp^rer une 

286 Report on the Census of Hcdlucinations. [chap. 

amelioration. Nous nous etonnions de ce que j'aie vu M. P., malgre sa 
promesse de se montrer a ma sceur. Mais je dois aj outer ici qu'avant le fait 
d^crit ci-dessus, j'avais ete voyante un certain nombre de fois, mais cette 
vision est bien celle que j'ai distinguee le plus nettement, avec des details 
minutieux, et avec les teintes diverses du visage humain, et meme du 


The second signature is that of the sister who was present at the time. 

Mr. Michael Petrovo-Solovovo, the collector, writes : — 

" I have much pleasure in certifying that the fact of Countess Kapnist's- 
vision was mentioned, among others, to' myself befoi'e the news of Mr. P.'s- 
death came to Petersburg. I well remember seeing an announcenrent of his 
demise in the pajjers." 

In the following case the hallucination occurred within 36 hours of 
the death. The percipient withholds her name from publication for 
reasons which seem to us adequate. 

(5.55. 5.) From Miss A. O, 

Janncmj 21st, 1892. 

" In the autumn of 1880 I was living in a farm house among tlie Cheviot 
hills, having gone there with some yiiunger members of the family, quietness- 
being desirable at home, owing to the illness of a near relative. The house 
l>eing a small one, I occupied a bedroom which coinmunicated with a sitting 
room on the upper storey, and, being some way from the other sleeping 
rooms, it was my habit to keep a lamp burning during the entire night. 
On the 29th of September I retired as usual in the best possible health and 
spirits, quite unaware of the then critical state of my relative, and liad just 
got into bed, witli face turned towards the wall, when I became aware of 
another presence in the room. 

" Turning towards the door of communication, I there saw, as I imagined, 
my relative who was ill, standing looking at me and smiling. He was 
dressed as t had been accustomed to see him ; the light was bright, and I 
observed every detail. I lay for a few seconds and then spoke, but getting 
no answer, jumped out of bed with hands outstretched towards the figure, 
which, on my approach, retreated to the outer room still smiling with peculiar 
sweetness. 1 followed it, and watched it vanish through the outer door, 
which was closed. After a moment's pause I opened the door and looked 
out but saw nothing but a bare passage and narrow staircase, dimly lit from 
the room in which I stood. I was not afraid, only wondering, for though we 
had been in the habit of telling ' ghost ' stories, it did not strike me at the 
time to associate tliis with anythhig of the kind. 

"On the following morning I told the other members of the family of my 
experience, and somebody suggested that it was just possible that the bright 
light at that hour might have alarmed the man who had care of the house, 
an old servant, and that he might have come up.stairs to see that all was safe. 


Apparitions Coivciding tvith Illness. 


Though personally quite sure of the identity of the apparition, I made 
inquiries, and found that there was no foundation for the suggestion. 
" My relative died the following night. 

" On relating this experience some years later to a cousin, she owned to 
having seen the same apparition on the same night as it appeared to me. She 
herself was then recovering from a long indisposition, but her intellect was 
clear and her nerves steady. Her husband distinctly recollects being told 
by her at the time of what she had seen. She was not afraid, her feeling 
was one of gratitude. I may add that the above is her only experience of 
the kind." 

In answer to our enquiries, Miss 0. wrote : — 

January 28th [1892]. 
"My cousin was not in the same house as myself at the time. I am not 
sure of her address, but know for certain that she was not within 50 miles of 
it. The apparition appeared to her, I imagine, at a later hour than it did to 
me. We were young [Miss O. was 15 at the time], and went early to bed ; 
I should think, a good deal earlier than was her habit ; also, if I recollect 
rightly, she had been asleep previously. 1 do not corre.spond with her. 
. . . [I] will try to obtain her written testimony, but have little hope of 
succeeding. I made no note of the occurrence, but know for certain that 
my relative's illness terminated fatally on the 30th of September, 1880. It 
is, however, possible that his death may have occurred in the early morning 
hours of the 30th, which would cause my experience to have been on the 
28th—not 29th, as previously .stated. I am quite sure of the date of the 
death, and have consulted the county papers which contained obituary 
notices. The relative was my father." 

The following corroborative note was received from Miss O's sister : 

Janvary 28th, 1892. 

' ' I distinctly recollect on the morning of September 30th (or 29th), 1880, 
being told by my sister of her experience of the previous night, — before the 
termination of our relative's illness. 


It will be noticed that in the three cases of apparitions coinciding 
with illness first quoted, and very possibly in the last, the agent was in 
a comatose state. In this respect, these cases contrast strongly with 

some other cases of coincidence with illness in our collection, notably 

with No. 34. 20, quoted below, in which the agent is at the moment in 
a state of very active consciousness, in acute pain and feeling a vivid 
desire for the help of the percipient. 

Parenthetically we may remark here that, if we are right in 
believing that a certain number of the hallucinations described as 
occurring within 12 hours of death were not really so closely coinciden- 
tal, some of them may still have been coincident with fatal ilhiess— like 
those we have just been describing — or may have occurred after death, 
the death being unknown (see Chapter XVII.). For instance, the 
following case is counted as a death-coincidence, because the percipient 


288 Report on the Gensm of Hallucinations. [chap. 

believed — perhaps rightl}' — that it was so; but she also beUeves that 
it occurred on a Sunday, because she remembers going to church on 
the same day, and that the death took place on the 8th of the month, 
which we find was a Wednesday. It appears, therefore, that her 
memory is at fault somewhere. Possibly she went to church on a 
Wednesday, or possibly the apparition occurred either during the fatal 
illness or after the death. But in any case a coincidence remains, 
since it occurred when the family were still unaware that thei'e was 
anything wrong. 

(460. 1.) From Miss H. L. H. 

Jidii Uh, 1890. 

" I was in Staffordshire, and on the night of August 7th, 1877, retired to 
rest between eleven and twelve, but I could not sleep. About two, as near 
as I can remember, while still awake, a strange feeling came over me, as if 
I was not alone, and sitting up to look, two scenes came vividly before me ; 
in the first, I saw my dear brother (who, as I believed, was far away in 
Bangkok) lying at the foot of my bed, dying. I remember I cried out, ' No 
one there who loves him, and no last message.' Then I saw a coffin in the 
same place, and felt he was dead. [I was] in good health. [Age] over 20. 

"In December we lieard that my brother had died in hospital at Singapore 
on his way home, unconscious, and with no one there who knew him. At 
the time I had this vision we were not aware of my brother's illness." 

The collector, Mr. G. R. Farncombe, says : — 

' ' Miss H. assured me that her experience took place on the day of her 
brother's death, but the exact hour of this she did not know. Whether she 
had an independent recollection of the date I cannot say." 

In answer to the question whether she had ever experienced any other 
hallucinations, Miss H. writes : — 

" On two occasions I have heard the voice of my father calling me by 
name, once before and once after his death. In the last [case] I ajipeared 
to see him as he stood by me at night." 

Professor Sidgwick called on Miss H. on September 21st, 1891, and 
writes on the same day, from notes taken at the time of his interview : — 

"The two scenes seen on the morning of August 8th were completely ex- 
ternalised, and appeared to be in Miss H.'s room ; the coffin in the second 
vision appeared to be across the bed. She is quite convinced that it was not 
a dream in either case ; in the second case she remembers sitting up and 
looking at the coffin. She was under no anxiety about her brother on tlie 
score of illness— he had been ill earlier in the year, but they had heard that 
he was better. They were, however, dightly anxious on account of not 
having heard from him for some time. 

" Within a week after the visions, Miss H. wrote to her father, describing 
what she had seen, in consequence of which he wrote to the Consul at 
Bangkok to inquire about his son. Before he received an answer to this 
letter, the news came of the son's death at Singapore ; later, he received a 
certificate of death, giving as its date August 8th. 


Voices coinciding with Illness. 


"Miss H. remembers distinctly that this was the date of her visions; it 
was a Sunday morning ; ^ she was asked by the vicar's wife after church why 
she looked strange and whether she was unwell. She is not a good sleeper, 
but was not specially suffering from sleeplessness at the time — was, in fact, 
in normal health. 

" The night of August 7th there had been strange noises in the house, 
heard by Miss H. and the two other persons who were the inmates of the 
house besides the servants — the latter having gone upstairs did not hear 
them. Tlie noises heard were as of heavy doors banging ; a window was 
seen to shake, and, thinking some one must be there, they went and searched 
in the yard, but found no one. The night was quiet, and the phenomena 
could not be explained by wind. In the morning it was found that a lamp 
placed on the window-sill had fallen and was broken, also the looking glass 
of a servant b<jy — a ' tiger. ' Miss H. did not regard the noises as supernormal 
before the visions had occurred ; though afterwards she was disposed to 
connect the two. No corroboration of the coincidence of visions and death 
is now obtainable ; her father died in 1879." 

In the next case the hallucination appears to have coincided exactly 
with a severe — though not fatal — -attack of angina 2)''-cto7'is. 

(34. 20.) From Miss M. A. King. 

(The account was written during the first half of the year 1889.) 

Belle Vue, Exeter. 

"I heard a voice .say, 'Come to me, I'm so ill, come to me.' This 
happened at five in the morning, one day in October of 1888. I was 
lying awake, having been dreaming vividly. My health was perfect, and 
I was in no grief or anxiety at the time. 

"[The impression was that of] some one with whom I was most intimate, 
but whom I had not seen for two months. She was at the time 200 miles 
away, and at that exact time was undergoing a severe attack and spoke the 
same words that I heard. 

' ' No other person was present. 

"I have not had any other experiences of this sort definite enough to 

"M. A. King." 

In answer to our inquiries, the collector, Mr. Lauder Smith, wrote : — 
Trinity College, Cambridge, Augnd 22nd, 1889. 

" Dear Sir, — I have obtained some of the further information which you 
desired in Miss King's case of thought-transference. I sent your letter to 
Miss King, and she replied as follows : — 

" ' (1) I did not mention the experience to anyone at the time except to 
the friend in question, to whom I wrote the .same day. She answered at 
once, telling of the strange coincidence. 

" ' (2) My friend was subject to occasional heart attacks attended with 
much pain and the result of ague, but she was in good general health at the 

1 We find, however, that August 8th, 1877, was a Wednesday. 



Report on the Census of Hallucinations. [chap. 

time and I had no thought of her being ill. The occurrence was impressed 
on my mind by the unusualness of my waking at four in the morning, and of 
my staying awake.' 

' ' Miss King also enclosed part of the letter from Miss Ilidd, the friend 
in question, which she mentions as having received in reply to her own ; 
it ran as follows : — 

" ' I didn't mean to tell you about it, but the coincidence is so strange 
I must. Sunday morning about four o'clock I had awfully bad pain, 
thought I was going to die for a few minutes, and when I could speak I 
stretched out my arms to your photo and said, " My Trix, come to me, I'm 
so ill, come to me ! " Wasn't it strange ? ' 

" I wrote to Miss Ridd, and she replied : ' Now to answer your queries. 
Yes, I did say those words aloud that Miss King quotes : I was sitting up 
in bed and addressed my remark to a photo of [her] that stands on my 
mantelpiece. She wrote to me telling me of her strange dream {sic) before 
I mentioned the fact to her and before she knew that I had been ill.' " 

' Miss Ridd unfortunately could not find Miss King's original letter to her 
describing her experience. 

Miss Johnson writes : — 

Angnd 15th, 1891. 
' ' I called on Miss King this morning and saw her and Miss Ridd to- 
gether. Miss King gave me a verbal account of her expei'ience, which 
seemed to differ slightly from her written account, but only, I think, because 
she had been very careful in the latter to put down only what actually 
came within the scope of the questions. She said that she had had a vivid 
dream of going out of the front door of her house at Exeter and meeting 
the postman, who brought her a letter froni Miss Ridd. On or in the 
letter was written, 'Come to me, Trix, I'm so ill.' Then she woke and 
heai'd the same words resounding in her ears. She thought it possible that 
she had been awakened by them. I asked if it was just like a real 
person speaking, and she said. Yes ; also if she definitely recognised the 
voice. She could not remember exactly, but said that she thought it could 
not have been anyone else but Miss Ridd, as no one else called her Trix. 
It never occurred to her that it could be anyone else. She was much' im- 
pressed by it and stayed awake a long time afterwards. It was very unusual 
for her to wake at all in that way in the morning. 

" I asked how they had established the coincidence, the date being no- 
where exactly stated. Miss King .said she had written the same day to 
Miss Ridd in London, who had answered by return. As to the exact hour, 
Miss Ridd remarked, ' Don't you remember you heard the Cathedral clock 
strike just after ? ' Miss Ridd herself had noticed the time because of 
having to take some medicine at four, and told how she had spoken the 
words to the photograph of ' Trix ' in her room. I pointed out that Miss 
King had given the time as five on the schedule. Tliey both agreed that this 
must have been a slip, both appearing to remember four as the hour of Miss 
King's experience, as she says in her letter, quoted by Mr. Lauder Smith. 

' ' Miss Ridd's illness was angina pectoris, which used to come on 
occasionally quite suddenly at night. There was no expectation of it just 
then in either of their minds, and she had not had it for some time. 


Voices coinciding with Illness. 


"Miss King said that this was the only time she had ever heard a 
hallucinatory voice ; she had not even ever imagined that she heard herself 

Miss King writes later : — 

"I do not remember ever dreaming of Miss Ridd's being ill, except 
once when I dreamed of her in a rather skeleton-like condition, but as she 
changed into several other people before I woke, the dream only impressed 
itself on my mind by its grotesqueness. 

" I had been from time to time a little anxious about Miss Ridd's con- 
dition, but was not so at that time, as she had not spoken of any attacks, 
and I believed her to have been very well for some time." 

It may be added that Miss Ridd has had one hallucinatory experience — 
which, however, contains no evidence of veridicality — relating to Miss 
King. She felt her hand clasped, a face pressed against hers, and her 
name spoken distinctly. 

The next case is one of those not taken account of in our statistics, 
because the sounds heard, though vocal, were not articulate (see 
Chapter II., p. 36). But the impression was a perfectly definite one, 
and unique in the experience of the percipient, and the evidence for a 
telepathic origin seems strong. It seems, therefore, sufficiently in- 
teresting to be worth printing here, though excluded from the Tables. 

(105. 1.) From Miss C. Clark. 

(The account was written in 1889.) 

"I heard someone sobbing, one evening last August (1888), about 
10 p.m. It was in the house, in Dunbar, Scotland, as I was preparing 
to go to bed. Feeling convinced that it was my youngest sister, I advised 
another sister not to go into the next room, whence the sounds seemed 
to proceed. After waiting with me for a few minutes, this sister went into 
the dining-room, and returned to me saying that our youngest sister was 
in the dining-room, and not crying at all. Then I at once thought there 
must be something the matter with my greatest friend, a girl of 24, then in 
Lincolnshire. I wrote next day, asking her if at that hour on the previous 
night she had been crying. In her next letter she said yes ; she was suffer- 
ing gi'eat pain with toothache just at that time, and was unable to restrain a 
few sobs. 

"I felt convinced tliat it was my sister whom I had just left in the 
dining-room; from the sound of the sobs I knew that she could no longer be 
there, and thought she must have left that room and gone into the bedroom 
adjoining mine. Just after I heard the sobs,another sister came into my room, 
on her way into the inner bedroom. I told her not to go there, as she would 
disturb the sister who, as I told her, was crying. I alone had heard the sobs. 

" This has been the only similar experience I have had. 

"Cecily C. Clark." 

In a letter to Miss Porter (for whom the case was collected). Miss Clark 
enclosed copies of portions of the correspondence which had passed between 

292 Report on the Census of Hallucinations. [chap. 

her and Miss Mabel Maughan, the friend referred to, on the subject. Miss 
Maughan is the sister of the agent in the experimental case No. 98. 13, 
(see p. 273;. This correspondence is printed below. Miss Clark says also : — 
" I had never before seen or Iieard anything of the kind, and have not done 
so since." 

Miss Maughan writes : — 

Jxly 21st, 1889. 

" Dear Miss Porter, — You asked f(jr some account of my sensations on 
the night on which my friend heard me crying with toothache. My sister 
and I slept together. She fell asleep very soon after going to bed, but I was 
kept awake with pain in my teeth. After sitting up in bed applying various 
remedies, none of wliich did me any good, the pain became so intense that 
I could not refrain from sobbing for a short time. I remember perfectly 
well that, with the exception of two or three audible sobs, I made no sound, 
as my sister had gone to bed very tired, and I was anxious not to disturb 
her. Not till I fairly broke down did I think of my friend, but then I 
wished intensely that she were with me. 

" Mabel Maughan." 

Extracts from letters. 
I. [From Miss Clark to Miss Maughan.] 

Dunbar, Wednesday, August 22nd, 1888, 9p.m. 

" Were you crying on Sunday night near 11 o'clock ? because T distinctly 

heard someone crying, and sujjposed it was H in the next room, but 

she wasn't there at all. Then I thought . . . that it might be 
you . . . " 

Thnrsdaii, August 23rd, 1888, 4.45 p.m. 
[Continuation of letter of August 22nd, not posted until 23rd. — F.P.] 
"Thank you very much for your letter just come. I am so sorry your 
face is sore ; did it make you ci-y on Sunday night 1 . , . " 

II. [From Miss Maughan to Miss Clark, received by the latter on August 

23rd, 1888.] 

E. Kirkby Vicarage, Spilsby, Tuesday evening, August 21st, 1888. 
[Post-mark Spilsby, August 22nd, 1888.— F. P.] 
" . . . On Sunday we went to see Wroxham Broad . . . We 
had an immense amount of walking to do altogether, and I think I got a 
little cold in my face in the morning, and all night I suffered with it, and 
niy face is swelled still . . . " 

III. [From Miss Maughan to Miss Clark, received by the latter August 

26th, 1888.] 

Thursday, August 23rd, 11 p.m. 
" I am putting bread poultices on my gums. I have never had such a huge 
swelling before, and it won't go down. It is so horribly uncomfortable . 

Saturday afternoon. — Thanks for letter. Yes, I was crying on Sunday 
night — only on account of the pain. It was awful, but I only cried quietly, 
as Edith was asleejj. . . " 


Other Coincidences. 


Mr. Podmore wi'ites:- Fehrnanj lOth, 1892. 

"I called on IVIiss Clark and Miss Ethel Maughan yesterday. The 
mention of ' next day ' in the original narrative as the date of Miss Clark's 
first letter is a mistake. I saw all the letters referred to, and verified the 
extracts. The experience was e'S'idently vei'y impressive to Miss Clark." 

Here, as in the last case, the documentary evidence shows that the 
experience was held to be remarkable before the coinciding event was 
heai'd of. 

A coincidence between a hallucination and an accident to the 
supposed agent resembles a death- coincidence in the definiteness and 
brief duration of the coinciding event. We have five of these in the 
Census. The best evidenced of the five, from a telepathic point of 
view, is perhaps No. 343.5, which will be found in Phantasms of the 
Living, Vol. II., p. 141 ; a young sailor m Australia appeared to his 
sister in England within twelve hours of a narrow escape from drown- 
ing, the wet appearance of the phantasm and the words spoken 
adding to the force of the coincidence. 

Hallucinations Coiiiciding tvith Emotional States oj the Agent. 

It would of course be ditiicult to classify all the possible kinds of 
coincidences, and we may say generally that, besides those we have 
already enumerated, there are some twenty cases in the Census with 
some prima facie claim to be regarded as telepathic on account of 
the circumstances of the supposed agent at the time of the halluci- 
nation. Four of these seem w^orth quoting here. The first is one of 
the cases about which there is contemporary documentary evidence ; it 
occurred when the agent was in mental trouble and her thoughts were 
strongly directed to the percipient. 

(290. 3.) From Miss L. Caldecott. 

February Uth, 1890. 

" A sensation of faint glowing light in the darkest corner of the room 
made me first look in that direction (which happened to be next the door), 
■and I then became aware of some one standing there, holding her hands 
outstretched as if in appeal. My first impression was that it was my sister, 
and I said, ' ^^^lat's the matter ? ' but instantly saw who it was — a friend, 
who was at that time ui Scotland. I felt completely rivetted, but though !ny 
heart and pulses were beating unnaturally fast, neither much frightened nor 
surprised, only with a sort of impulse to get up and go after the figure, 
which I could not move to do. The form seemed to melt away mto the soft 
glow, which then also died out. It was about half -past ten at night. I was 

at my home in . The date I am unable to fix nearer than that it was 

either August or September, 1887. 

"I was perfectly well. I was reading Carlyle's Sartor Eesartv.s at the 
time. I was in no trouble or aiLxiety of any kind. Age about 26. 

294 Report on the Census of Hallucinations. [chap. 

" I had not seen my friend for about a year. I wrote to her the day after 
this happened, but, before my letter reached her, received one in which 
she told me of a great family trouble that was causing her much suffering, 
and saying that she had been longing for me to help her. Another letter in 
answer to mine tlien told me that her previous letter was written about 10. 30 
on the night I saw her, and that she had lieen wishing for my presence then 
most intensely. My friend died very shortly afterwards. 

" No other persons were present at the time. n « 

'■ ^ L. Caldecott. 

Mrs. Sidgwick writes : — 

December 2}kd, 1891. 

" I called on Miss L. Caldecott this afternoon. She has found one of her 
friend's letters — the one in answer to her own describing the apparition. 
The letter is dated 16th, 1885, S(.i that Miss Caldecott's date in 
hei- account is wrong. Miss Caldecott read me out the part bearing on 
the subject, and I wrote it down from her dictation, afterwards reading it 
ovej' to her, while she compared it with the t>riginal. It ran as follows : — 

' ' ' Your account is very strange, and I cannot quite make up my mind 
what to think of it. If it had not been tliat on that very Tuesday night I 
really was thinking of you very much, and wishing from the bottom of my 
heart that I could get at you, I should be inclined to say that your 
ajjparition was entirely subjective, and that you imagined you saw me. But 
if there is any connection between mind and mind, why should it not be so, 
and that it really was because I was wishing so hard I could be with you. 
You know that was the night I got back. I unpacked some of my things, 
and then began to write to you. It was then somewhere between 11 and 12. 
At all events, I remember it struck 12 some time after I got into bed. 
. . . . Tell me anything you can of my general appearance, and so 
forth. If you saw me as I was at the time it seems fairly conclusive it was. 
my thinking of you caused you to see me, and not indigestion on your part,, 
and entirely independent of me.' 

" It will be seen that the hour named is different from that mentioned by 
Miss Caldecott in her account — between 11 and 12 instead of between 10 and 
11. But Miss Caldecott says her memory is bad, and I think she has no 
inde]jendent recollection of the hour any more than of the day. She re- 
members being struck with the closeness of the coincidence at the time. 
And the sentence in the above letter referring to the hour seems to indicate 
that her friend also thought the hours coincided. It reads as if Miss Caldecott 
had in her letter named a time between 11 and 12. 

"I asked particularly about the apj^earance. The corner of the room 
where it appeared was shaded by a wardrobe. Her attention was caught 
by the light, which made her look up. It was not a bright light like a fire, 
but it seemed to radiate out — glow out. Later, she said it was the sort of 
light you see when some one aiDproaches along a dark passage with a candle. 
She saw the cornice (I am not sure whether of wall or cupboard) at the 
same time. The face and hands were the clearest parts. The hands were 
held out, palms upwards. She looked as Miss Caldecott was accustomed 
to see her, but she did not notice the dress particularly. She did not see 
the figure clearly at all below the knees. She showed me the sort of 


Other Coincidences. 


distance, which I should judge to be about 10 feet. The feeling of her heart 
beating fast was only what one feels after anything sudden and startling. 
She only felt it after the figure disappeared. She cannot at all judge of 
the duration of the experience. 

' ' She has on two other occasions seen figures, both times when very weak 
after an illness and not sufliciently recovered to be up. When she saw the 
figure described in her answer to our questions she was remarkably well, 
and had just been taking a holiday, which she had enjoyed very much." 

In the next case, the coincidence is somewhat similar, except that 
the emotion is due to imagined, and not to real circumstances. 

(41. 3.) From Mrs. Malleson. 

Highfield, Haling Park-road, Croydon, April 12th, 1889. 

' ' What I am about to relate happened in the autumn of 187 4 or 1875, I 
cannot remember which, as we spent some months of both those years in 
the same place and under very similar circumstances. We were living in a 
small house close upon the sea-shore, in a somewhat lonely situation, 
between Littiehampton and the village of Rustington. My husband and 
one of our sons, about sixteen, were to take the night boat from Littie- 
hampton and cross to the French coast, returning in a few days. I was not 
in strong health, but certainly not ill : I was in the habit of taking long 
rides on horseback, and spending hours of the day upon the shore. . . 
With no cause for special anxiety, I felt a little lonely and depressed 
at the thought of [my husband's] leaving me, and of our being parted 
by the sea. I determined to go to bed before they started. . . . Before 
I proceed further, I wish to say that although I had all my life been a 
dreamer of very vivid, consecutive, and striking dreams, yet I was not 
subject to any form of nightmare, that I knew nothing of a half-waking 
state, but, on the contrary, was always conscious of a thoroughly defined 
line between the two conditions ; and that I had never, upon any occasion, 
dreamed of being where I actually was. I mention this because it made 
the incident I am about to relate far more striking to me at the time. I 
had no doubt then, and I have never had any since, that I did actually 
awake when I thought I awoke, nor was I conscious of any farther awakening. 

" I had slept for some hours when I was suddenly awakened by feeling 
some one bending ever me. I was conscious of lying in the same position in 
which I had fallen asleep. My room was dark, yet I felt no doubt that it 
was my husband. I felt a strange thrill and a vague anxiety, but no fear. I 
did not doubt that it was himself in bodily presence, and yet I remember a 
strange momentary feeling that he could read my thoughts. I said, ' Oh, 
Willie, you have come back ! ' I put out my arms and felt his coat. He 
answered, 'Yes 1 I am come back.' I remember that the tone was very 
solenm and my fears were aroused. I asked, ' Has anything happened ? ' 
he replied in the same peculiar low, solemn tone, ' Yes ! something has 
happened.' Then I thought of the boy and asked eagerly, ' Where is 
Eddy ? ' There was no answer, and after a moment's pause I felt that I was 
alone. I raised myself on my arm and endeavoured to penetrate the dark- 

296 Report on the Cens^is of Hallucinations. [chap. 

ness. I looked towards the door ; I was sure there was no one in the room, 
and equally sure that there had been no sound or stir of one leaving it. 
Then in an instant came the conviction that it was not in his ordinary bodily 
presence that he had been there, and at the same time the agonising realisa- 
tion that it was himself to whom something had happened, although I 
reflected that he could not have been drowned, because his clothes had not 
been wet to my touch. I struck a light and went to look at my watch, for 
which pui'pose I had to get out of bed ; it was five o'clock. ... I re- 
mained restless, anxious, and miserable until Sunday morning, when I 
received a letter from my husband, my vision having taken place on the 
morning of Friday. When my husband returned I told him of my vision. 
He was vexed that I had been so much troubled, and merely said, ' Well, 
you see I was in no danger, nothing was the matter, so I hope you will never 
believe in visions or presentiments any more 1 ' I may say that although 
this was and has remained my only vision, I was and am apt to have ' pre- 
sentiments ' during his absences. 

"K. E. Malleson." 

Mr. Malleson writes : — 

Airril 22nd, 1889. 

"My wife has related that my son and I left Littlehanipton by a steam- 
boat that was to cross in the night to Honfleur. We no doubt stayed some 
time together on deck, and then I went below to try to get some sleejj, while 
he preferred to remain in the fresh air. I got into a l)erth, partly undressed 
myself, and, I believe, fell asleep, until I was awakened by two men who 
were sitting at the table in the cabin, talking. Presently they rose to go up 
the cabin stairs, and I said, ' I have left a boy of mine on deck. If you are 
going up, would you mind seeing how he is getting on ? ' They said they 
would, and I remained quietly in my berth until they returned. To my 
question whether they had seen him, they replied, ' No, they had not noticed 
him anywhere.' 

"Not long after this my imagination began to work upon their answer, 
at first merely as a sort of occupation for my mind, and I j^ictured myself 
searching for my son all over the deck in vain, and questioning the sailors, 
and getting to hear nothing about liim. Then my mind began to dwell upon 
the supposition that I should never see or hear oi my dear lad again — but 
this only as a supposition, a story, as it were, told to myself. I was 
not in any real fear, but after a little time my imagination gained greater 
hold of me, and I found myself pacing woefully along the lonely sea road to 
our cottage with the terrible news to tell my wife that our boy was gone — 
was lost — had fallen overboard, no doubt, and no one had even seen or 
heard him. The story had now taken possession of me, and I could not 
by any means shake myself free of it. That solitary walk — the agony of 
the interview that would follow — the thought of what I should say — how 
tell the awful misfortune — what she would say — how look — what answer 
I was to make to the inevitable question, ' Where is Eddy ! ' all 
this was acting itself l)efore me, and my pulses violently beating. 
The last question was more than I could endure, and I rose and went 
on deck, tlius putting an end to a state of mind perfectly new and strange to 
me, which I have never experienced before or since. True, for a time I 

XIV.] Other Coincidences. 297 

■could not find Eddy anywhere, Ijut liefore I had become seriously uneasy I 
discovered him snugly hidden away under a great sheet of tarpaulin. I 
don't remember looking at my watch, but it was daylight, and we remained 
on deck a couple of hours or more before getting in to Honfleur to breakfast. 

"When my wife told me on our return to Littlehampton how I had 
appeared to her, I refrained at the time from telling her my half of the 
experience. She was not strong, and I feared f<jr her the excitement of so 
strange a corroboration of her vision. ^ y^^^^ Mallkson " 

Mrs. Malleson says that she has on many occasions seen "quite clearly 
and for a considerable time " apparitions of persons who were elsewhere, but 
only when she was "either suffering in health or from anxiety of mind," 
except on one occasion, when, being " perfectly well," she saw an apparition 
of a young lady who was staying in the house walking into a room in front 
of her. She followed, and found the room empty. 

In cases such as both of those last quoted, it is, of course, difficult to 
judge to what extent the agent's condition was exceptional; and, in the 
second, there is the additional doubt as to whether the experience 
might not have been due simply to the percipient's state of mind. But 
those who think that the fact of telepathy is proved, will feel little 
doubt that these two cases are examples of it. 

Hallucination correspond i7ig to the Agent's Tlioughts. 

In the next case, the coincidence is as definite and unmistakable as 
could be desired, and any doubt as to the telepathic causation is of a 
different nature. 

■ (31. 2.) From Miss S. Mallet. 

25, Highbury New Park, N., May, 1889. 
The collector, Miss A. V. Mallet, writes: — 

"My sister Sophia Mallet had written No when I reminded her of the 
following incident, and she changed her No into Yes. It occurred on 
December 12th, 188G ; she had gone through a surgical operation under 
chloroform and was just recovering from the effects ; our own physician, an 
old and intimate friend, was standing by her bed feeling her pulse, when she 
thought she heard him say, ' How A. is altered ; he used to be so handsome 
and now he is quite a fat fellow. ' It struck her as a very strange thing for 
him to say. When he had left the room she said to the imrse, ' What made 
Dr. H. speak of Mr. A.?' 'He did not, ma'am.' 'Oh, yes, he did, and 
said he was become quite a fat fellow.' The nurse looked at our own maid, 
who was also standing by the bed, and who said, ' He said you were going 
on all right, nothing else.' 

" Now, they did not know it, but Mr. and Mrs. A. had called just as the 
surgeons were leaving the house ; they came to me in the di-awing-room. 
Dr. H. left them with me to go up and see my sister ; when he came down 


Report on the Census of Hallucinations. [chap. 

after they were gone lie used the identical words to me about Mr. A. which 
my sister thought he had said to her ; I c<in only sujjpose that the thought 
was passing through his mind while he had his fingers on her pulse, and 
that, her nerves being in an abnormal state, the impression was conveyed to 
her mind, and it seemed to her that she heard him say the words. 

"A. V. Mallet. 

" Sophia Mallet." 

Miss A. V. Mallet explains that she and her sister drew up the account 
together, the latter adding her signature to certify that it was correct. No 
notes were made at the time. She writes later : — 

May 2,1st, 1889. 

"I was in the drawing-room with Mr. and Mrs. A. and Dr. H. when, 
my sister asked the nurse and maid. I did not hear of the occurrence till 
the next day, as I was only allowed to see my sister for a minute or two the 
first evening. The nurse and maid were both repeatedly questioned, and 
never varied in their account. The whole thing was the subject of dis- 
cussion amongst us all and several of our intimate friends for some weeks. 
The nurse we have never seen or heard of since she left, three weeks after 
the operation. I do not even remember her name. Our maid left vis a year 
ago to join some relatives in America. We have no means of tracing either 
of them. My sister and I were both struck by the expression ' fat fellow.' 
If Dr. H. had said 'Mr. A. has grown so stout' it would not have im- 
pressed us nearly so much." 

Mrs. Sidgwick writes : — 

December 3rd, 1891. 
' ' I have j ust returned from calling on the Misses Mallet. Miss Sophia 
Maliet was still more or less under the influence of the chloroform when her 
experience occurred, and in a somewhat dazed condition. The only hypothesis 
she can suggest other than the telepathic is hypertesthesia, viz., that she really 
only heard the words when he said them to her sister a few minutes later down- 
stairs. That this doubt should be possible shows that her ideas about it are not 
quite clear ; but she distinctly thinks she heard the words while Dr. H.'s hand 
was on her pulse. They sounded far off. The room where she was is not 
over the drawing-room, where the words were actually spoken, and I was 
informed that it was difhcult to hear the piano from one to the other. Miss 
S . Mallet does not seem to remember hearing the real words spoken by the 
doctor in her room about her being all right. She had been under chloroform 
for about three-quarters of an hour. Tlie matter was a good deal discussed 
and inquired into at the time, so that I should think Miss A. V. Mallet's 
impression about it is correct, and that she is a more ' first-hand ' witness 
than her sister, owing to the dazed condition of the latter." 

This case is interesting as a possible example of the eflFect of drugs 
in heightening the telepathic faculty. Tliat there was either hyperses- 
thesia or thought-reading seems clear, and that the phenomenon was 
partly due to the effect of the chloroform seems also certain. It is 
worth noting that we have reason to believe that the hypnotic state 
(which the effect of chloroform and other drugs occasionally resembles 


Reciprocal Telepathic Impressions. 


in the suggestibility induced i) is favourable to thought-transference 
and in some cases to hypertesthesia.'- 

Reciprocal Telej)athic Impressions. 

The next case is a possible example of a "recipi'ocal" case, in which, 
as defined in Phantasms of the Living, Vol. II., p. 153, each of the twa 
persons concerned appears to be receiving a telepathic impulse from 
the other, so that each is at once agent and percipient. The indi- 
cations of reciprocality are, however, only slight, since there is no 

certainty that Miss 's dream gave her any information as to Mr. 

Evans' condition at the time, nor is it clear that it was exactly 
contemporaneous. The evidence that his experience was not purely 
subjective depends on the apparition presenting a true feature unknown 
to him (the silver cross), and is stieugthened by the fact that 
Miss 's thoughts wei'e occupied with him that afternoon. 

(78. 16.) From the Rev. C. L. Evans. 

(The account was written in 1889). 

Shiresliead Vicarage, Forton, Garstang, Lanes. 

" Two years ago I liad occasion to undergo a course of magnetism, under 

the treatment of Miss . I was under her treatment for six weeks, and 

derived considerable benefit from her treatment. A warm friendship sprang 
up between us, as she had wonderfully improved my sight. I went up to 
St. Edmund Hall, Oxford, at the commencement of the October term, as- 
my eyes were so much stronger. One afternoon, as I had just come in fronr 
the river, being rather tired, I sat down for a minute before I changed, when, 
to my gTeat surprise, the door opened, and Miss appeared to walk in. 

" She was looking rather pale at the time, and looked mtently at me for- 
about a minute, then left the room as slowly as she had walked in. I was 
much alarmed, as I fancied that something must have hapjjened to her, and 

I immediately sat down and wrote off two letters, one to Miss , askmg- 

if she was well, and another to my mother, telling her of the strange occur- 
rence. The next day I had back the two repUes. My mother said that on 

that very afternoon she had called on Miss , and naturally they had been, 

discussmg my case. She said that my description of Miss 's dress, &c.,' 

was perfectly accurate. I then read Miss 's note. She stated that my 

1 See Dr. von Schreuk-Notzing, Die Bedcutv.mi narcotischer Mittel fur den 
Hi.'jmotismns, in the Schriften der tresellschaft fiirpsi/chologische Forschung, Heft. I., 
Leipzig-, 1891. 

- It is possible that in hypnotism there may be a correlated heightening of the 
psychical with the physical sensory faculties, though the former maj' not in any way 
directly depend on the latter. Supposing that a certain mind is constantly receiving- 
telepathic impulses, most or all of which, as a general rule, remain latent or .subli- 
minal, the same conditions which produce hyperaesthesia of the senses maj' tend to- 
translate the subliminal into supraliminal percepts. 

300 Report on the Census of Hallucinations. [chap. 

mother had called, and had left at about half-past four, she then had lain 
down for a few minutes, and was thinking and wishing to see me. She had 
a distinct impression that she saw me during this sleep, or trance, but when 
she awoke the impression was not very vivid. The time exactly coincided, 
and she said that my desciiption of her was very accurate. At the time that 
she appeared to me I was not thinking in the least of her. 

"Charles Lloyd Evans." 

Mr. Podmore writes : — 

April 2btK 1892. 

" I called on Mr. Evans on the 20th instant, and had a long conversation 
with him. 

"The occurrence took place in November, 1887. It would be about 
4.15 p.m. He was resting in his chair — in boating clothes — with the door 
ajar. He heard a knock or sound as of someone entering ; turned round and 

saw Miss come into the room and walk towards him. She was dressed 

in red bodice and dark silk skiit (a not unfamiliar dress), but with a silver 
filigree cross hanging from a chain round hei' neck, which he had never seen 

before. He learnt afterwards that the cross had been given by General- 

only a few days before the incident. The figure looked him straight in tlie 
face — then seemed to fade away bit by bit. He was himself perfectly well, 
and not a bit sleepy. 

" He has had no other hallucinati(jns. His age at the time was 20." 

Mr. Podmore wrote to Mr. Evans' mother asking for her coiToboration 
of the incidents described by her son, and she rejjlied : — 

April 27th, 1892. 

"In reply to the questions you asked me about the apparition of Miss 

to my son, when at Oxford, I can fully verify his statement. He wrote 

to me the same afternoon, begging me to call upon Miss and see if she 

was ill, detailing me the account of what he had seen, and also describing 

her dress minutely and the cross she was wearing. I called upon Miss 

the following day, and read her my son's letter, giving the hour at which she 
had appeared to liim. She told me that she had not been feeling well, and 
was lying down on the couch thinking, too, of my son, and that she went off 
into a sort of trance, and she saw him distinctly looking at her and he was 
very pale. . . . [She] told me that my son had at once written to her, 
fearing that she nmst be ill, and told her the circumstances under which she 
appeared to him. When I saw Miss — — she was then wearing the same 
dress and filigree cross which Charlie had described to me in his letter, and 
which he had never seen her wearing before. 

" Mary E. Evans." 

Mr. Podmore afterwards saw Miss , and gives the following account 

■of his interview : — 

July 17t.h, 1892. 

"I called on Miss this afternoon. 

' ' Her account of tlie matter is that Mrs. Evans (the percipient's mother) 
called on her on the afternoon of the vision, and talked much about her son. 

After Mrs. Evans left — probably about 5.30 p.m. — Miss , as usual, lay 

down to sleep for a few minutes, and woke about 6 p.m. with the recollection 


Characteristics of Veridical Cases. 


of having seen Mr. C. L. Evans. She can recall no details of appearance — • 
merely the recollection of having been in the same room with him. The next 
day she received a letter from Mr. C. L. Evans telling of his vision, and on 

the same day another visit from his mother. Miss was wearing the dress 

and filigree cross described. The ci-oss, as stated, had been given to her 
only a few days before. 

" She is not sure of the time at which her vision or dream occurred. 
It may have been earlier than 6 p.m., her hours being very irregular. 
She had compared notes with Mr. Evans, and was under the impression 
that their experiences coincided. But I think that her first statement — 
6 p.m. — is probably correct. If so, her dream would have come one and 
a-half to two hours after Mr. Evans' vision." 

"We have in the Census one other seemingly reciprocal case, but we 
have not been able to obtain enough information about it to make it 
worth considering evidentially. Cases which are clearly reciprocal 
seem to be very rare, but if established, they would be of great 
theoretic importance as throwing light on the nature of telepathy. 
For, especially when they contain any element of what Mr. Gurney 
calls " telepathic clairvoyance," they seem to show — using his words — 
" either that A's power to act abnormally in a certain direction has 
involved an abnormal extension of his own susce2'>tibility in the same 
direction ; or else that some independently-caused extension of his own 
susceptibility has involved the power to act abnormally." {Phantasms 
of the Living, Vol. II., p. 162). 

It will be convenient, before proceeding to the next class of 
veridical hallucinations, to consider what characteristics, if any, dis- 
tinguish those we have been discussing from hallucinations in general. 
The telepathic hypothesis does not require that there should be any 
difference. On the contrary, if all hallucinations are sensory manifes- 
tations of conscious or subconscious ideas, all that telepathy has to do 
is to introduce the idea ; and there is no reason d priori why the 
telepathically received ideas should externalise themselves as sensory 
hallucinations either more often in proportion than ideas which arise 
spontaneously, or in a different manner. Experience, however, gives 
some ground for thinking that telepathic ideas do project themselves 
as hallucinations more readily than others ; at least, this seems to be 
the most natural explanation of the number of telepathic hallucina- 
tions as compared to the number of telepathic ideas rising above the 
threshold of consciousness without producing sensory hallucinations. 
K^o doubt, the non-hallucinatory impressions, — e.g. of a dying person, 
— would not, unless unusually vivid, excite special attention, but 
would be lost in the general mass of ideas that pass through the mind. 
Still, there are instances of feelings, impressions, and impulses to 
action, which there is strong ground for attributing to a telepathic 

802 Report on the Census of Hallucinations. [chap. 

oi'igin (see Phantasms of the Living, Vol. I., pp. 232 — -294), and the 
student of telepathy can hardly fail to be sui'prised that in spontaneous 
cases these are not more numerous in proportion to the hallucinations, 
unless the explanation is to be found in a special tendency of tele- 
pathic ideas to produce hallucinations. 

Such a tendency would naturally be accompanied by a greater force 
and insistency on the average in the hallucinations produced, and we 
believe that there is some indication of such a greater insistency in the 
coincidental cases. One indication is the larger proportion of coinci- 
dental cases in which some kind of note has been made of the occur- 
rence before the coincidental nature of it was known (see p. 221). 

The larger proportion of bisensory hallucinations among coinci- 
dental cases is probably another indication. In estimating the number 
of bisensory cases, it will be best to omit those which are only classed 
as bisensory because some non-vocal sound accompanied the visual or 
tactile hallucinations ; since it is often doubtful whether these sounds 
were not real, so that to count them as hallucinatory is apt to be mis- 
leading. From Table II. we see that the hallucinations described at 
first-hand, in which more than one sense was affected, amount to about 
9 '5 per cent, of all the hallucinations. But among the 180 coinci- 
dental cases which we have discussed in this and the two preceding 
Chapters, more than one sense was affected in 14'5 per cent. If we 
limit ourselves to the 80 visual death-coincidences, 17 '5 per cent, is 
the number which are bisensory or trisensory, while in the 381 
apparitions of living persons with which these are to be compared, only 
12 per cent, are bisensory or trisensory.^ These differences are very 
marked, and the conclusion that a relative preponderance of bisensory 
cases is to be found among the telepathic ones is in accordance with 
that arrived at by Mr. Gurney on the basis of his collections of tele- 
pathic and purely subjective hallucinations (see Phantasms of the 
Living, Vol II., pp. 23, 24). 

Since bisensory cases are more impressive, and therefore presumably better re- 
membered than other subjective cases, we may assume that the real proportion of the 
bisensory cases that are not coincidental to the whole number of non-coincidental 
cases will be consider.ably exaggerated in our returns : whereas we have agreed that 
we cannot assume any material effect of forgetf iilness in estimating the real number of 
telepathic hallucinations, whether bisensory or not. Henee the real ratio of the 
bisensory telepathic eases to those which are not bisensory, must be assumed to exceed 
the general ratio of bisensory to non-bisensory cases, by a difference much greater than 
that shown in our statistics. 


Collective Hallucinations. 


Chapter XV. 


Hallucinations simultaneously experienced by two or more per- 
cipients — which we distinguish as "collective " — are obviously of great 
interest in the general consideration of the cause and nature of 
hallucinations, even if the collectivity is due to transference from one 
percipient to another by suggestion through the senses. But the 
interest becomes still greater if, this explanation being excluded, we 
are driven to suppose, either that the transference between the per- 
cipients has been effected by purely mental suggestion, or that the 
hallucinations have been simultaneously produced in both percipients 
by some supernormal cause. We have therefore examined this part of 
our evidence with special attention. 

At fii'st sight, the quantity of this kind of evidence appeared to be 
ample — at any I'ate so far as visual hallucinations are concerned. The 
Census contains 95 instances, reported to us at first-hand by at least 
one percipient, of figures or objects believed to have been hallucinatory 
and to have been simultaneously seen by two or more persons. To 
compare with these we have 992 instances of unshared visual hallu- 
cinations reported at first-hand, in 188 of which the percipient states 
that he had a waking companion. ^ 

The auditory collective cases reported are less numerous than the 
visual, and bear a smaller ratio to the whole number of auditory cases. 
There are, however, 34 cases in which two or more percipients are said 
to have heard approximately the same hallucinatory voice simul- 
taneously, in 5 of which the percipients were in diiferent rooms. The 
number of unshared auditory hallucinations reported at first-hand is 
459, in 60 of which the percipient states that he had a waking com- 

Collective cases where the sense of touch is affected ai'e — as might 
be expected — rare. Indeed we have only two first-hand cases that 
could possibly be placed in this class, and in one of them the experience 
is too trivial and vague to be worth considering. The other is an in- 
teresting case, which we have given in the discussion on physical 
effects connected with hallucinations (see p. 204). But the visual and 
auditory cases, taken together, appeared at first sight to constitute a 
strong body of evidence for collectivity. 

1 The numbers given in this and the following paragraph apparently disagree with 
the Tables, since in some of the collective cases more than one percipient is included 
in the Census, and in the Tables each percipient in the Census is reckoned separately. 
There is no case in which two percipients both see an apparition and at the same time 
hear a voice, so that the numbers given of visual and of auditory collective cases are 
mutually exclusive. 

304 Report on the Census of Halkocinations. [chap. 

A closer inspection, however, showed us that important deductions 
had to be made from this evidence : since there are special reasons for 
doubting either the collective or the hallucinatory character of a con- 
siderable number of the experiences. 

First as I'egards the collective character. We are so accustomed in 
ordinary life to find our visual and auditory exjieriences shared by^ 
others, that the assumption of their having been so shared on any par- 
ticular occasion is probably liable to be made — at the time or after- 
wards — on insufficient grounds. At any rate we have found in a few 
cases that a supposed second percipient, when applied to, has no recol- 
lection of the incident ; which renders it doubtful what his impression 
was at the time. Second-hand evidence for collectivity cannot there- 
fore be ranked above second-hand evidence for other questions con- 
nected with hallucinations : and it is only in 43 out of the 95 visual 
cases reported as collective that we have been able to obtain evidence 
of the sharing of the experience, beyond the recollection of one per- 
cipient — partly because the second percipient is often dead or has been 
lost sight of. 

But, granting that the perception was collective, there may still be 
room for doubt as to whether it was really hallucinatory. "We have 
already ^ given reasons for thinking generally that some of the ex- 
periences counted in our Tables were mistakenly reported as hallucina- 
toiy, and further that this mistake is especially likely to be made out 
of doors. The fact, therefore, that over 44 per cent, of the collective 
experiences occurred out of doors, and only about 15 per cent, of those 
that were unshared, renders it probable that proportionally more of the 
former have been erroneously regarded by the percipient as hallucina- 
tory : and this probability is strengthened by the fact that a larger 
proportion of out-door cases are collective, than of indoor cases in 
which the percipient had a waking companion.- The presumption thus 
afforded is confirmed by an examination of the evidence in particular 
cases. If we go through the realistic human apparitions that occurred 
when the percipient was up, asking ourselves this question — " If the 
facts are correctly stated, is it certain that the figure seen was not a 
real human being?" — we find that we answer "No" in a considerably 
larger proportion (nearly double) of collective cases than of others, and 
this though we leave entirely out of consideration the collective 
cliai-acter itself. Of course, an estimate of this kind h MS) cLS 8b statistical 
statement, only a relative value. A judgment so formed is sure to 

1 See Chapter II., p. 37 ; Chapter V., p. 98. 

-Taking only those where the percipient had a waking companion, we find 
tliat, out of 1!)4 where he wa.s indoors, 5.3 or 27 per cent, are said to have been 
collective ; and out of 88 where he was out of doors. 42 or nearly 48 per cent, are said 
to liave been collective. In one case, it is not stated whether he was indoors or not. 


Collective Hallucinations. 


depend largely on the idiosyncrasies of the person judging, and moi'e- 
over fuller or better given evidence might alter the aspect of the case. 
There seems, however, no reason why, if the same person judges of both 
the collective and non-collective cases, the same errors of judgment 
should not affect both classes equally ; so that this relative estimate 
may be taken as fairly trustworthy. In view of these considerations, 
we think that any conclusions about collective hallucinations must rest 
upon individual cases carefully scrutinised, and not on the alleged 
numbers, respecting which we cannot regard ourselves as having 
sufficiently accurate information. "We shall, therefore, only quote 
here some of those which seem to be evidentially the best cases. 

Collective Visual Hallucinations. 

Before we proceed to give fresh narratives, we may remind the 
reader that we have already come across three cases believed to 
have been collective among the death-coincidences. In the first of 
these, No. 147. 23, p. 218, the evidence of the second percipient is 
unobtainable, but if there is no exaggeration, the description makes it 
difficult to suppose that there was any mistake as to the complete and 
independent recognition of the figure by both percipients. In the 
other two cases (Nos. 422. 25, p. 227, and 418. 4, p. 230) the account is 
signed by three and two percipients respectively, and in the second we 
have ascertained that the percipients l)elieve themselves to have seen 
the figure independently — that is, without verbal suggestion by one to 
the other. 

In the case we have next to quote, there is — apart from the 
collectivity — no element of coincidence. It seems a clear case of 
collective hallucination, the disappearance of the cat proving it to 
have been hallucinatory. 

(535. 2 and 3.) From Mrs. Greiffenberg and Mrs. Erni-Greiffenberg. 

The collector, Mr. F. C. S. Schiller, tells us that he heard the story in 
October, 1890, from the two percipients. The following account was put 
together by him from an account (which he also sent us) written by Mrs. 
Erni-GreifFenberg, and various conversations which he had with both ladies 
on the subject. He afterwards obtained their signatures to it. Neither of 
them has had any other hallucinatory experience. 

December Uth, 1890. 
' ' In the beginning of the summer of 1884 we were sitting at dinner at 
home as usual, in the middle of the day. In the midst of the conversation 
I noticed my mother suddenly looking down at something beneath the table. 
I inquired whether she had dropped anything, and received the answer, 
' No, but I wonder how that cat can have got into the room ? ' Looking 
underneath the table, I was surprised to see a large white Angora cat beside 


306 Report on the Census of Halhicioiations. [chap. 

my mother's chair. We botli got up, and I opened the door to let the cat 
out. She marched round the table, went noiselessly out of the door, and 
when about half way down the passage turned round and faced us. For a 
short time she regularly stared at us with her green eyes, and then she dis- 
solved away, like a mist, under our eyes. 

" Even apart from the mode of her disappearance, we felt convinced that 
the cat could not have been a real one, as we neither had one of our own, 
nor knew of any that would answer to the description in the place, and so 
this appearance made an unjDleasant imj^ression upon us. 

' ' This impression was, however, greatly enhanced by what happened in 
the following year, 1885, when we were staying in Leipzig with my married 
sister (the daughter of Mrs. Greifienbei'g). We had come home one after- 
noon from a walk, when, on oijening the door of the flat, we were met in 
the hall by the same white cat. It jjroceeded down the passage in front of 
us, and looked at us with the same melancholy gaze. When it got to the 
door of the cellar (which was locked), it again dissolved into nothing. 

' ' On this occasion also it was first seen by my mother, and we were both 
impressed by the uncanny and gruesome character of the appearance. In 
this case, also, the cat could not have been a real one, as there was no such 
cat in the neighbourhood. 

(Signed) "Mrs. Erni-Gkeiffenberg. 
"Mrs. Greiffenberg. ' ' 

In the following case there was no vanishing, and the figure left the 
field of view as a real figure would have done, but it was clearly 
recognised by both percipients, and it is difficult to suppose that the 
real person came into the church and forgot all about it. It is on this 
that the evidence for the hallucinatory character of the experience 

(647. 7.) From Miss C. J. E. 

March, 1892. 

"I was playing the harmonium in the church of at about 4 p.m., 

August, 1889, when I saw my eldest sister walk up the church towards the 
chancel with a roll of papers under her arm. When I looked up again she 
had disappeared, and I thought she had just come in for a few minutes and 
gone out again ; but wlien I asked her afterwards what she wanted in the 
church, she was much sui'prised, and told me she had been in the rectory 
liljrary all the afternoon, studying genealogical tables. I am not sure of the 
exact date, but it was about the time I mention. 

' ' I was practising on the harmonium ; as far as I remember I was quite 
well and not worried about anything. I was eighteen years old. A younger 
sister was the only other person in the church with me at the time. She 
was standing beside me on an old stone coffin, and also noticed my eldest 
sister walk up the church with papers under her arm, but thought it nothing 
unusual and looked away, and when she looked back again my sister had 

"My eldest sister looked just as usual and wore her hat and jacket, as I 
and my younger sister both noticed. She walked rather briskly, looking 


Collective Hallucinations. 


straight before her. She assures us that she was sitting alone in the 
rectory library (the rectory is within a stone's throw of the church) all 
the afternoon." 

In answer to the question whether she has had any other hallucinations 
Miss E. says: " I have seen dark forms in my room at night when there was 
no one in the room but myself, but as I am nervously inclined I am not very 
positive about it, as it may have been partly imagination. But the ajjpari- 
tion [of my sister] I positively saw." 

Miss E. writes further : — 

April Uth, 1892. 

" I am quite sure that the figure could not have been any one else looking 
like K., for I saw distinctly every detail of her face and figure and dress, 
and noticed tliat she was looking straight before her. My sight is excellent, 
and I know I could not have been mistaken. Wheia I looked up, the figure 
was about three yards from me, I should say. The figure may have gone 
back past me without my noticing it, but T think it very improbable, as 
I was sitting with my face towards the aisle through which it must have 

The other percipient, Miss H. E., writes : — 

"My sisters and I were spending the day with our uncle at ; as 

he is the rector his garden leads into the churchyard. In the course of the 
afternoon C. and I went into the church ; she began to play the harmonium 
and T stood on a stone coffin beside her with my hand on her shoulder ; my 
sister was playing a hymn and I was looking down at the book to read the 
words. C. casually looked up ; I did the same, and following the direction 
of her eyes saw K. walking to us up the church with — and this rather 
surprised me — a long bundle of papers in her hand. We made no remark 

and took no further notice of her movements, for when we go to 

we often just wander in to see the church. It was certainly K. herself ; I 
could see her face quite well. C. and I finished our hymn and found that she 
had gone. C. and I soon after went in to tea. At tea we were surprised to 
hear K. say, ' I am so sorry I did not see the church, but part of the 
afternoon I was looking at pedigrees in the study; before that I passed the 
church gate ; I was going in, but turned back to the study instead,' or 
words to that efi'ect. C. and I exchanged glances, but said nothing. 
However, next morning we attacked K. on the subject ; she was much sur- 
prised, had certainly not been in church at all, but had first been in the 
library studying the family pedigree, and then gone to the church gate and 
returned. My sister and I both have perfectly good eyesight. It seems im- 
possible that K. can have visited the church, but my sister and I are both 
positively certain that we saw K. or her likeness. The day after we both 
described the details of her dress, so far as we could recollect them, and 
K. said that it was a correct account of her dress the day before. I saw the 
pedigree papers before I went out, and both C . and I thought them very like 
the papers the figure had in her hand. These are, as far as I remember, the 
details of the case without exaggeration or diminution. 

"It was possible, but rather improbable, that K. should have left the 
church without our notice, because she must have passed back the same way 
close to us." 

X 2 

308 Re2:)ort on the Census of Hallucinations. [chap. 

Miss K. E. writes : — 

"Upon the afternoon during \yhich this curious incident happened, I 
wandered about my uncle's garden for a while, and half thought of going 
into the church, but changed my mind and did not. I went into the library, 
and, being interested in genealogy, studied my uncle's family pedigree until 
tea time, when I remarked to my sisters that I had not been to the church 
all the afternoon, and they told me that they had seen me there. I felt no 
unusual sensations during the afternoon, and am much mystified by the 

A case of a recognised figure seen out of doors is the following : — 

(317. 14.) From Miss A. E. R. 

(The account was written in 1890.) 

" When out in camp in an Indian jungle, my sister and I were anxiously 
awaiting the return of her husband, who had left in the morning on a 
surveying expedition, promising to return early in the afternoon. Between 
six and seven p.m. we were very uneasy, and were watching the line of 
road, I should say, 200 yards distant from where we stood. Simultaneously 
we exclaimed, 'There he is,' and I distinctly saw him, sitting in his dog- 
cart driving his grey horse, the syce occupying the seat behind. We at once 
returned to the tents — my sister ordering the bearer to get the Sahib's bath- 
water ready, and the butler to prepare dinner — I running to set my brother- 
in-law's mother's mind at rest as to the safety of her son. However, as 
time passed on, and he did not appear, our alarm returned, and was not 
allayed until he arrived in safety at eight o'clock. On interrogating him, 
we found he was just starting from the surveying ground, about eight miles 
distant, at the very time we had the above related experience. I should 
add, we were both in good health and certainly wide awake at the time, 
and I have never before or since had any experience of the kind." 

Miss R. was about ten years old at the time of this incident. Her sister, 
Mrs. H., writes to the collector, Miss B. Garnett: — 

December 17 th, 1890. 
" In answer to your request, I write to say that I fully endorse the state- 
ment made by my sister with reference to our experience in India. I was 
present at the time. Also I may state that there was no possibility of our 

1 A somewhat similar but very remote case is mentioned on p. 262, in connexion 
with another experience of the percipient. Miss Hawkins Dempster : another 
from the Census has been printed in the Jorirnal of the S.P.R., Vol. IV., p. 140. 
A case which belongs to the Census (No. 91. 16) is published in Phantasms of the. 
Living, Vol. II., p. 210 (No. 327) : — the figure seen was out of doors but at no great 
distance. Two otlier cases from the Census, of recognised figures collectively seen out of 
doors, were printed in the Journal, Vol. VI., pp. 129 — 133: but in both the distance 
renders the recognition — on which the hallucinatory character mainly depends — 
somewhat doubtful. On the othei- hand, the figure was in both oases very marked ; 
and in one of them one of the percipients afterwards had a hallucinatory vision of 
the same person. 


Collective Hallucinations. 


mistaking any other person for my husband, as the road ended at our tents, 
and the figure we saw must necessarily have driven straight to us. I should 
also say we were in an isolated part of the country.' 

Mr. Myers called on Mrs. H., and she informed him that the incident 
took place "about 18 years ago," when her son, who was then twenty, was 
about two years old. 

Mr. Myers writes : — 

December 5th, 1891. 

' ' Mrs. H. explained to me in conversation that a mistake of identity 
was impossible, both from the lonely nature of the country and from the 
great height of her husband, who is about 6ft. 4in. tall." 

Mrs. H. added a further note to her sister's account, to the following 
effect : — 

December 5th, 1891. 
"I fully endorse all the details of this account. I may add that the 
time I saw my husband was about the hour I expected him home. He had 
been detained later than he expected, and I know would be concerned as to 
my anxiety about him. I have never had any other similar experience." 

In this case the proof that the figure was not real depends not so 
much on the recognition — for the distance was probably too great for 
certain recognition — as on the combination of .that with the very 
great improbability that any human being whatever was driving a 
dog cart in the place at that moment. 

In the following case the apparition was that of a dead person, and 
there seems to be little room for mistake as to its hallucinatory 

(728. 16.) From Dr. S. da G. 

March 17th, 1892. 

" I saw what seemed to be my fiancee' s sister at a window in the garden. 
Her head was tied up in a handkerchief ; I approached her, but on arriving 
opposite the window I found it closed. Nobody was there ; yet one moment 
before I had seen the form, and I did not hear the window close, for which, 
indeed, there was no time. I stood before the window, gazing at it in 
perplexity, when suddenly the panes seemed to disappear and the same 
form was leaning on the sill looking out upon me. It was not the sister of 
my fiancee ; 1 recognised the appearance as that of my fiancee's mother, for 
I had seen her portrait in the house. I retired towards the place where 
ray fia ncee was sitting. I was horrified, but not to alarm her I did not run. 
When I came back to her she saw the form accompany me. It was visible 
only down to the waist. She had also seen what she supposed to be her 
sister at the window, and told me not to pay her any attention. There was 
at the time some misunderstanding between them. As I was going up the 
steps of the verandah I felt as it were a finger pulling me back by the 
collar. I did not look back, but G. screamed out, ' Look — my mother ! ' 
and fainted away. Place: Rio de Janeiro. Date, 1876; hour, nine 
o'clock p.m. 

310 Report on the Census of Hallucinations. [chap. 

" I [had been] talking with my future wife on subjects of everyday life. 
Health and spirits of both good. Age at time between 21 and 22. (My wife 
was 21.) 

" Our first impression was that my future sister-in-law was listening to 
our c(jnversation. This annoyed me, and was the reason of my going to the 
window. I afterwards recognised my fiancee's mother by the portrait in 
the family album, which I had already seen. She had been dead seven years. 

" The light by which the above apparition was seen was that of the gas- 
lamp which stood just ojDposite the garden gate." 

A plan was enclosed, showing the position of the verandah in which Dr. 
and Mrs. da G. were sitting, the lamp in the street beyond, and the 
window of the house looking out on the garden, at which the apparition was 
first seen. 

The collector, Professor Alexander, writes : — 

Rio, May im, 1892. 
"In answer to questions, the wife of Dr. da G. declares that she 
recollects seeing the figure at the window and behind Dr. da G. as 
he came towards the steps. It was visible from the waist up. She 
does not remember if it had a handkerchief tied round its head or not. 
She thought that the form at the window was that of her married sister, but 
she afterwards recognised her mother. She thinks that she told him at the 
time that it was her mother. She cried out at the moment that Dr. da G-. 
felt himself pulled from behind. When she did so the form disappeared. 
This happened when they were on the verandah engaged in conversation. 
(Donna da G. does not seem to recollect the occurrence so well as her 

h"^^*"'^-) "A. Alexander." 

In the next case the figure is unrecognised, and the reasons for 
regarding it as hallucinatoiy are, first, its disappearing roore rapidly 
than, as it seemed, a real person could have done ; and, secondly, its 
oddness, suggesting that if it was a real person he must have been 
masquerading in a strange dress. 

(256. 17.) From Mrs. Goodhall. 

27, Nevern-square, S.W., February 6th, 1890. 

"Time, summer's evening, towards the day's wane, but still quite light. 
Place, the broad plateau of a high hill, between Willesden and Ravensden, 
on the road to the town of Bedford. Year, either 1873 or 1874. The road 
unusually wide, with deep margins of grass on both sides. I was being 
driven by my daughter in a low pony carriage, when I suddenly saw a 
figure, dressed in black from head to foot, advancing; it appeared to glide 
along. I said to my daughter, ' Oh, do look at that strange figure ! ' It 
passed on the left side of the carriage, on the grass, within two yards of us ; 
as it did so, it turned its face directly our way, and of all the fiendish faces 
it was the most horrible you can imagine ; its garments seemed to train 
behind it. My daughter looked back after it as it passed us ; she says it 
turned its face over its shoulder, and looked towards us. I myself turned 
round immediately — it was gone. I told people in the county what we had 


Collective Hallucinations. 


seen, but could never learn any history beyond the saymg of the people, 
that part of the road was supposed to be haunted. The figure passed about 
three-quarters of a yard beyond the roadway. 

' ' I was in good health and quite happy ; age about 50. 

' ' [The figure had] no likeness to any one I ever had seen or have 
seen since. 

"My daughter, who was driving me at the time, confirms my statement." 
[Miss Goodhall adds here a note : — " I do. (Signed) May C. Goodhall."] 

' ' I took no notes of the experience, but often spoke of it to others at 
the time, and also since. 

"Charlotte E. Goodhall." 

Mr. Podmore writes : — 

June 1th, 1892. 

"I called to-day on Mrs. Goodhall. The figure was seen, according to 
the testimony of both ladies, in all but full daylight — a quite unmistakable 
figure. They could not determine which saw it first. But their interest 
was aroused at once, because, as both assured me, the figure seemed to 
glide, not walk. Mrs. Goodhall described the face as fiendish. Miss 
Goodhall said that it had a nasty expression, and a large mouth ; like a 
man's coarse features in a woman's dress. Miss Goodhall looked round 
at once, and the figure had disappeared. It could not have disappeared if 
a real figure, as the distance from the hedge was too great. The vision 
can have lasted only a few seconds in all. 

' ' Miss Goodhall has had no other hallucinations ; but Mrs. Goodhall has 
had two or three auditory hallucinations. 

' ' Mrs. Goodhall wrote a full account of the vision seen by herself and 
Miss Goodhall to her married daughter, in India at the time. The letter has 

unfortunately been destroyed ; but Mrs. told me that she remembered 

reading of the incident. 

"I also saw an accoinit written in a diary by Mrs. Goodhall three 
years (or more) after the event ; which corresponds, almost word for word, 
with the account given to us. ' ' 

In the case of unrecognised figures collectively seen out of doors, it 
is usually on their unexplained disappearance that the evidence for 
their hallucinatory character depends ; and the value of this evidence 
is often hard to estimate. We referred in Chapter V. (p. 98) to a case in 
which the two percipients took different views of a figure seen by them 
— one regarding its mysteriotis disappearance as explicable on the 
hypothesis that it was a real man, and the other holding the opposite 
opinion. When the two percipients agree that a real person could not 
have got out of sight in the manner in which the figure was seen 
to disappear, we must, at least, regard the disappearance as diflicult of 
explanation ; and this was, doubtless, the case in the experience just 
quoted.^ Still, while there is the smallest possibility of bodily disap- 

1 This statement applies also to No. 513.3, which was printed in the Journcd of 
the S.P.R., Vol. VI., p. 137. 

312 Report on the Census of Hallucinations. [chap. 

pearance behind an obstacle to vision, some doubt as to the hallucina- 
tory character of the experience must remain ; and we require clearer 
cases to prove the fact of collective hallucinations. 

Indoors, even when bodily disappearance is not absolutely 
excluded, there is often an additional difficulty in supposing an 
unrecognised figure to have been a real person — -namely, the impro- 
bability of a stranger being there at all. This is the case with 
the following experience^ — where, however, the figure seen was very 

(49. 2 and 3.) From Mr. and Mrs. C. 

(The accounts were written in 1889.) 
Mr. C. writes :— 

"The place, my father's house, a village rectory in the Eastern Counties; 
the room, that in which my mother died ; the time, night, between 12 and 
3 a.m. ; date, July, 1879. My wife and I were both asleep, when I woke 
suddenly, found her sitting up, also just awake ; she said : ' What is that?' 
At once I pointed to where, at the bottom of the bed, I saw indistinctly a 
white figure, unrecognisable, which at once vanished. I got out of bed 
and explored the room. There was no mooidight effect to account for the 
experience, the shutters being shut ; no white garment, no apparent cause . 
We were both startled by the mutual experience, which was too short to 
accurately investigate ; but we undoubtedly were both awakened at the 
same time by the consciousness of the presence of something in the room ; 
both saw the same white unrecognisable figure, in the same place. I was 
asleep, but awakened into possession of every faculty at once by the 
consciousness of the above experience. We were both in excellent health. 
My mother had died some ten years before, and we had not been speaking 
of her ; in fact, I had not told my wife that the bedroom we occupied was 
that in which my mother had died. The figure was too evanescent and 
unrecognisable, and insufficiently defined in outline, to identify. My wife 
was with me at the time, and gives her account so far as she remembers it. 
I shovild not have thought any more at all of the experience, but for the 
identity of our mutual experience. The date was no particular anniversary, 
nor impressed, by any event afterwards heard of, on the mind. 

"C. V. C." 

Mrs. C. writes : — 

' ' I saw a white form, without features visible, move at the end of the 
bed where I was lying, from near the middle to one side, where it vanished. 
This took place in the year 1879. I was asleep in bed and awoke in terrible 
fright with the feeling that some one was in the room, and I then saw the 
moving figure I have described. I was in perfect health at the time and in 

1 The statement applies also to two collective cases belonging to the Census — 
viz.. No. 731.19, 20, and 21, and No. 717. 16, which were printed in the Journal, 
Vol. VI., pp. 133-37 ; and still more to one (No. 451. 4) iDublished in Phantasms of the 
Living, Vol. II., p. 619 (where it is numbered 666). 


Collective Hallucinations. 


no trouble or anxiety. I had no impression of any particular person, it 
seemed simply a figure. My husband was with me, and experienced exactly 
the same sensations. u -g -g, q ,, 

Neither Mr. nor Mrs. C. has ever had any similar experience. 
Mr. Myers writes : — 

Octohev 13th, 1891. 

"I saw Mr. and Mrs. C. to-day. They are quite sure that each 
independently saw the figure. The incident occurred when they were 
paying their first visit to Mr. C.'s father's house after their marriage. It 
was the first time that Mr. C. had been in that room since his mother's, 
death. There was no light in the room, and they cannot tell how the 
moving object, 'like a white petticoat,' was seen." 

Here the vagueness of the figure and the dimness of the light seem 
to leave room for the supposition that the expei'ience was an illusion, 
rather than a hallucination, although the percipients failed to discover 
any basis for illusion. In this respect the case resembles a collective 
experience (No. 196. 2) quoted in Chapter V., p. 100. 

In the next case the visual hallucination is of a slight kind, but its 
collective character appears unmistakable. 

(37. 13.) From Miss H. Wilson. 

The Cottage, Ditchingham, Bungay, Augiid, 1888. 

" It was Sunday night. F. T., my cousin, Mrs. H. (an old servant and. 
friend of the family), and I were sitting in the drawing-room. All the rest of 
the family were gone to church, the house was shut up, the shutters closed, 
and door shut. 

" F. and I sat opposite each other on the same side of the table; two^ 
candles were on the table. 

" I sat reading with my back turned to the candle near me, so that the 
light fell on my book. Suddenly the light disappeared, so that I could not 
go on reading. I looked round quickly, and saw a dark shadow pass 
between me and the candles. The shadow was so thick as to seem almost 
like a substance, but I did not see any shape. We both exclaimed, ' I 
thought both the candles were going out,' and F. said, 'It seemed to me to 
come from the door.' When the shadow had passed, the candles were perfectly 
clear and steady ; the old nurse was stooping low over the fire, on the same 
side of the room as we were. She was in great trouble about a sick brother, 
and when we spoke to her did not seem to have noticed anything or heard, 
us talk. 

"Early next morning she was called away — her brother had died that 
night at 3 a.m." 

Miss Wilson writes later : — 

September m, 1888. 
' ' I enclose [my cousin's] account of our experience, which you may find 
useful, though, probably through her natural timidity and nervousness, her- 
recollection of what happened is not quite so clear as mine. I can quite 

314 Report on the Census of Hallucinations. [chap. 

clearly remember that she said in answer to my remark, that ' it seemed 
like a thick shadow between me and the candle,' ' It seemed to me to come 
from the door. ' The door was on her side of the room. 

" , a sergeant of H.M. — tli, was the man's name, and he died 

in his own house at 3 a.m. on the night of March 4th last, or rather the 
morning of March 5th. ^ The doctor called his disease blood-poisoning. 
A few hours before his death he got out of bed in his restlessness, and 
neither doctor nor friends could persuade him to return to it. You will 
observe that the soldier died a few hours after we saw the shadow." 

The note enclosed from Miss F. T. was as follows : — 

"My cousin and I sat in the drawing-room on the evening of Sunday, 
March 4th, between 7 and 8 p.m., with a pair of composite candles on 
the table between us, or rather nearer my cousin, who was reading aloud. 
The elderly woman, sister of the man who was dying, sat on my left near 
the fire, looking down, too much absorbed in sad thoughts to notice anything. 
Suddenly the candles appeared to be momentarily obliterated, whether by a 
shadow passing by them or what I can scarcely say, and I exclaimed ' What's 
that? ' or some such thing." 

Miss Wilson has had another visual hallucination, given on p. 79, 
besides two referred to on p. 1G3. 

Ml'. Podmore writes : — 

April 29th, 1892. 

" I called on Miss Wilson to-day, and heard from her a full account of 
her several experiences. 

"The time at which she saw the shad(jw was, she believes, about 8.30. 
A note was made at the time of the occurrence in an old pocket-book. 
Mrs. H. is still living, but even at the time knew nothing about the 
occurrence, which took place at Miss T.'s house. 

" The shadow was extremely distinct, about the thickness of a man's body, 
height not noticed. It passed from the direction of the door, past Miss 
T., and Miss Wilson saw it just as it jjassed between herself and the 
candle, and then disappeared behind her. She is very ^Jositive that it could 
not have been due to any wind or mere flickering of the candle. It was a 
solid-seeming mass of almost black shadow. The occurrence made a strong 
impression upon Miss T., who is very nervous." 

Mr. Podmore wrote to Miss T. for a fuller account, especially as to 
whether she saw the shadow before Miss Wilson, which the latter believed to 
have been the case. The following is her reply : — 

May 5th, 1892. 

' ' In answer to your letter of the 29th last, I can only say that my 
impression of the occurrence was something of a mist or shadow obliterating 
the candles. I said, ' What's that ? ' and my cousin looked up and left 
■oS reading, I believe quite simultaneously. I was not conscious of any 

1 March 4th, 1888, was a Sunday. 

Collective Hallucinations. 


draught; but the shadow or whatever it should be called seemed to come 
from the direction of the door. I do not think I can say anything more." 

This will be seen, is at once collective and coincidental : 

but, in the absence of any recognition, the coincidence, we think, is 
not sufficiently close to establish clearly the telepathic origin of the 
experiences. If we regard the origin as telepathic, it will be another 
example of the phenomenon of deflected telepathic communication, 
discussed on p. 265; since it was the old nurse who was concerned 
with the dying man. 

Collective Auditory Hallucinations. 

We now pass to collective auditory hallucinations. The following 
is a good specimen of this class. 

(735. 3 and 12.) From Messrs. de B. and V. 
Mr. de B. writes : — 

Rio de Janeiro, April 3rd., 1892. 

" I heard a voice call a friend, who was with me in the same room, by 
his name — ' Senhor V.' Place, Rua de S. Christina, Rio de Janeiro. We 
were both in bed in the same room. This happened in 1872. 

' ' I was lying still in bed, but awake . Health good. I naturally 
sympathised with my friend, who had lost his wife on the previous day. 
My age at time was 42. 

" I did not myself recognise the voice ; but it was the name used by my 
friend's wife in addressing her husband. The friend above referred to. 
Sr. F. v., also heard the voice. Each of us asked at the same time if the 
other had heard it. I was staying at his house to keep him company in his 

" [With regard to other experiences], I may have felt hallucinatory 
impressions of touch, but I am not sure about it." 

Mr. V. writes : — 

Rio de Janeiro, April ith, 1892. 

" I awoke, hearing the voice of my wife calling me by name — ' Senhor 
V.' The call was repeated after I had awaked, and it was then that each 
of us (Sr. G. de B. and I) asked the other if he had heard the voice. We 
spoke simultaneously. I slept in a bed made up on the floor. My friend 
slept in another bed, so placed that our heads were near together. The 
lamps were still alight in the street, but there were faint indications that 
the day was just breaking. Date, night of May 7th, 1871 (and not 1872) ; 
place, Rua de S. Christina, Rio de Janeiro. 

" I had been sleeping a troubled sleep, but was awake the second time 
that the voice called. On the 6th of May my wife died. She was buried on 
the 7th. I was, therefore, under the influence of grief. Age at time, 38." 

316 -Report on the Census of Hallucinations. [chap. 

Mr. V. has had one other hallucinatory experience, thus described : — 
" At the request of my dying son, Arthur, I had been to light the 
candles in the chapel. I had lighted them before, and was surprised to fiiid 
them put out. On withdrawing I closed the door of the chapel. The 
sacristy, where I then was with my friend. Sr. J. B., was completely in the 
dark. I saw before me the form of Arthur dressed in the habit of St. 
Francis, to whose Order he belonged. The form shone with a light of its 
own. This was in 1886. Age 53. 

' ' Arthur had received the last Sacrament and was dying. He was still 
living at the time of the vision. He died shortly after, and was buried in the 
habit of the Order to which he belonged. The vision was very distinct." 

Professor Alexander adds : — 

"Sr. J. B. declares that he himself saw nothing." 

A casein Phantasms of the Livi7ig,Yo\. II., p. 221 (No. 336), which 
also comes into the Census, may be compared with this, — both being 
recognised voices of persons recently dead. 

In the following case the voice was unrecognised ; but, like the one 
quoted at p. 318, it is a coincidental case which may have been 
telepathic in its origin. 

(138. 18.) From Mr. C. H. Gary. 

Secretary's Office, March 2Uh, 1892. 

" I heard a voice say ' Joseph ! Joseph ! ' [at] Bow, London, E. The date 
was March 8th, 1875, the time about 8.30 p.m. 

' ' [I was] talking with my father and cousin (Joseph) about the battle of 
Balaklava. In good health, &c. My age was nearly 13. 

" I never remember seeing the pei'son whose voice it was afterwards 
believed to be. The individual was dying at the time. 

" My father, R. H. Gary, and my cousin, Joseph Gary [were present]. All 
three of us heard the voice, which we suppose to be Joseph's grandmother. 

"G. H. Cart." 

Mr. Gary writes to the collector, Mr. Podmore : — 

March 25th, 1892. 

' ' I herewith enclose the form you gave. I have filled it up to the best of 
my remembrance, and am thoroughly convinced of the truth of what actually 
occurred. The name of the individual whose voice it was supposed we 
heard was that of my cousin's grandmother (no relation of mine), Mary 
Victor; she died at Lynwood, Paul, near Penzance." 

Mr. Gary further informs us that he has had no other hallucinations, 
except the hearing of footsteps. He heard them first in 1879, and his 
brother died shortly after. He did not then know that such sounds were 
regarded as premonitory of a death. He has heard them twice since, 
and on each occasion a cousin of his died. His father also had heard them 
more than once, and each time lost a brother. Mr. Gary says of these 
sounds : "I express no opinion of belief or disbelief as to their super- 


Collective Hallucinations. 


Mr. Podmore writes : — 

' ' Mr. Gary explained to me that the voice was heard on the day, and, as 
he believes, near the actual hour, of death. Mrs. Victor was kno\vn to be 
very ill, but her death was not supposed to be imminent. 

"So far as he knows the voice was heard independently by all three 
persons. It was, indeed, mistaken for the voice of Mrs. Gary (narrator's 
mother), who was in an adjoining room. 

' ' When the telegram came announcing the death, Mr. Joseph Gary said 
that it must have been his grandmother's voice which he heard. 

"Mr. G. H. Gary did not recognise the voice at all, and he believes his 
father did not either. It merely seemed to them to be a woman's voice. 

" There were no ties of affection between the deceased and the narrator 
or his father." 

Mr. Podmore has written three times to Mr. Joseph Gary, asking for his 
recollections of the incident, but has received no reply. 

Mr. R. H. Gary, in answer to a request for his corroboration, wrote to 
Mr. Podmore: — 

49, Gladsmuir-road, Highgate, N., March ^Ist, 1892. 
" Dear Sir, — With reference to your enquiry concerning the voice 
■which was heard at the time of the late Mrs. Victor's death, I am able 
to state that my son, my nephew, and myself were sitting together, and we 
all heard it distinctly. This occurred about fourteen years ago. The 
account given by my son exactly coincides with my own recollection. 

"R. H. Gary." 
"We have verified the date of death at Somerset House. 

We have one other collective auditory case — besides the one 
just quoted — which is stated to have been coincidental, but with 
illness, not death : in this, also, the percipient's name was called 
in an unrecognised voice. 

Collectivity with Partial Dissimilarity. 

There is a somewhat dilFerent, but important, kind of collective 
hallucination in which the percipients ha^-e simultaneous hallucinatory 
experiences involving something of the same idea, though differing 
markedly f I'om one another. The following ^ is a g-ood illustration (for 
another instance, see No. 740. 9, p. 373). 

(703. 24.) From Lady C. 

October IWi, 1884. 
"In October, 1879, I was staying at Bishopthorpe, near York, with the 
Archbishop of York. I was sleeping with Miss Z. T., when I suddenly saw 
a white figure fiy through the room from the door to the window. It was 
only a shadowy form and passed in a moment. I felt utterly terrified, and 

^This case has already appeared in Phantasms of the Living, Vol. II., p. 20,S. 
We have accordingly given the percipients' accounts as there published . 

318 Re'port on the Census of Hallucinations. [char. 

called out at once, ' Did you see that ? ' and at the same time Miss Z. T„ 
exclaimed, ' Did you hear that 1 ' Then, I said, instantly, ' I saw an angel 
fly through the room,' and she said, ' I heard an angel singing.' 

" We were both very much frightened for a little while, but said nothing 
about it to any one." 

Miss Z. T.'s account is dated December 19th, 1884. 

"Late one night, about October I7th, 1879, Lady C. (then Lady K. L.) 
and I were preparing to go to sleep after talking some time, when I heard 
something like very faint music, and seemed to feel what people call ' a 
presence.' I put out my hand and touched Lady C, saying, 'Did you 
hear that ? ' She said, ' Oh, don't ! Just now I saw something going across 
the room ! ' We were both a good deal frightened, and tried to go to sleep 
as soon as we could. But I remember asking Lady C. exactly what she had 
seen, and she said, 'A sort of white shadow, like a spirit.' The above 
occurred at Bishopthope, York." j t " 

There are about 8 cases more or less of this type in our collection, 
but the evidence in most of them is deficient in various ways. The 
following is an auditory case of the kind, which, though one of the 
percipients was young at the time and the evidence of the other can 
no longer be obtained, seems to us worthy of consideration. The 
surviving witness is well known in the educational world, in which 
he occupies an important position. It will be observed that the experi- 
ence is coincidental as well as collective. 

(289. 13.) From Mr. P. B. 

June 15th, 1890. 

' ' I heard my grandfather call me by name in our own house. I was 
al)out nine, and not of nervous temperament, nor apprehensive of any- 
thing. I cannot fix the date, and quite forget the exact hour ; but my 
mother thought at the same moment that she heard herself called, and 
we both came, from different rooms, to answer. I did not know what my 
o-randfather was doing or where he was at the time. As a matter of fact 
he was, at the same time, dying at Fenchurch Street Station." 

Mr. B. states that he has never had any other experience of the kind. 

Mr. Podmore writes : — 

November 2Uh, 1891. 
" I called to-day on Mr. B. His grandfather's (mother's father) name was 
S. L. ; he lived at Prestwich, near Manchester : but he died quite suddenly 
(Mr. B. could not state the cause of death) at Fenchurch Street Station, 
in or about 1868. He was about 84 years old at the time, and apparently 
well and hearty. He had come up from Manchester a few days before on 
purpose to see his grandson before he went to school. He was much 
attached to the boy. Mr. B. was living with his parents at Bow at the time, 
and was about 9 or 10 years old (he is now 33). Mr. L. had gone out for 
the afternoon ; was expected back for dinner at about 6 p.m. There was 


Collective Hallucinations. 


no cause for anxiety at all. Sometime between early dinner and 6 p.m. 
(probably about 3 p.m.) Mr. B. thought he heard his grandfather call him, 
'Percy': he ran into the hall and met his mother, who thought she had 
heard her father call, 'Sarah.' Mr. B. recogni.sed the voice, and states 
that his mother (now dead) recognised it also. He is pretty sure that it 
was not a real sound mistaken for the grandfather's voice. As Mr. L. did 
not come in at 6 p.m,. Mrs. B. grew anxious, and went out to search for 
news of him ; and whilst she was absent — about 7 p.m. — a messenger came 
to announce the death. Mrs. B. was much impressed by the coincidence of 
the voice with the death. She was by no means a nervous or fanciful 
woman ; and, her son believes, had had no other experience of the kind. 
Mr. B.'s father— the only other witness — is dead. 

"Mr. B. trusts the accuracy of his own memory for the facts here set 
down. He has had no other experience, and has no special interest in the 

Another case which is, in its essential features, of the same nature 
as a collective hallucination with different percepts, will be found in 
Chapter XVII., p. 383, (No. 726. 14). Here, however, the experience 
of one of the percipients seems to have been a pseudo-hallucination 
rather than a completely externalised sensory hallucination. 

The class of cases in which one percipient sees an apparition, while 
he and others collectively hear a non-vocal sound, such as footsteps, 
or see a door opening and closing, has already been discussed in 
Chapter X. In such cases it is generally possible that the noise or 
movement was real, and it may in some cases even have been the 
immediately suggesting cause of the hallucination. 

Explanations of Collective Hallucinations. 

The reader has now before him the cases in the Census which seem 
to us on the whole to afford the best evidence for collective hallucina- 
tion. Here, as with the death-coincidences, there is of course no 
sharp line marking off the more convincing cases from the others. 
Different judges would probably form different estimates, and some, for 
instance, of the narratives from the Census already printed in the 
Journal of the S.P.R., Vol. VI., and referred to in foot-notes on 
previous pages, might in the judgment of some persons seem more 
impressive than some of those in the present chapter. 

The cogency of the evidence in the aggregate will also be differently 
estimated by different persons. Few, however, are likely to regard it 
as strong compared with that for apparitions coinciding with deaths, 
and if the case for collective hallucinations rested on the Census alone, 
it would perhaps be rash to regard it as conclusively pi'oved that hallu- 
cinations may be shared. It does not so rest, however. Readers of Fhan- 

320 Report on the Census of Hallucinations. [chap. 

tasms of the Living will remember that a considerable mass of evidence 
for collective halhicinations was there presented and discussed (see Vol. 
II., Chapter XVIII.), and since then further cases have been received 
and laid before the Society from time to time in the Journal. Among the 
latter, we may especially refer to the case of the brothers Ellwood 
{Journal, Vol. IV., p. 286) who state — in an account written within 
two months of the experience — that they simultaneously saw a halluci- 
natory figure standing at their bedside ; the case of three sisters — the 
Misses Du Cane — who collectively saw the figure " of a young man of 
middle height, dressed in dark clothes and wearing a peaked cap," which 
vanished " within a few inches of " two of them {.Journal, Vol. V., p. 
224) ; the case of Lady B. and Miss B. {Journal, Vol. VI., p. 145) ; 
and, finally, the very remarkable case narrated by Miss Atkinson — a few 
months after the experience — in an account {Journal, Vol. VI., p. 230) 
from which we extract the following : — 

"My friend had been telling me of a very dear old friend of the 

family [Dr. ] who was buried in the church. ... I remember 

that the neglect of his wish [to have a window put in to his memory] 
quite made me angry. . . . Just then I saw an old gentleman behind 
us, but, thinking he was looking over the church, took no notice. But 

my friend got very white and said 'Come away, there is Dr. !' Not 

being a believer in apparitions, I simply for the moment thought she 
was crazy, though I knew they were a ghost-seeing family. But when 
I moved, still looking at him, and the figure before my very eyes 
vanished, I had to give in. . . . When we got outside my friend told me 
that his was the figure which came to difi"erent members of their family so 
often, and, indeed, had been the cause of their leaving one house." 

To all this previous evidence, that included in the Census adds 
material confirmation, and we do not think it can reasonably be 
doubted that collective hallucinations occur, though unmistakable 
ones are somewhat rare. 

If this be so, we may probably regard our collection as a 
typical one ; and may conclude from it that collectivity is fairly 
distributed over the different classes of hallucinations ; since an 
analysis of the cases stated to be collective shows that all the classes 
into which we have divided visual and auditory hallucinations are 
adequately i-epresented among them, except visions and religious 
apparitions. 1 

Another point on which our statistics are calculated to throw light 
is the question how far hallucinations tend to be shared, when there 
is more than one person present. As already stated, the cases in 
the Census in which a visual hallucination is shared are about 
a third of those in which we know that two or more persons 

1 See Table in Appendix F. 


Collective Hallucinations. 


were together and awake — namely, 95 out of 283. Among the 95 
cases there are 38 in which there were more than two persons present, 
and in 23, or about three-fifths, of these all present shared in the 
experience. At first sight, therefore, it appears legitimate to infer 
that shared visual hallucinations are more rarely unseen by some 
present than hallucinations confined to a single percipient. But in 
view of the probability that in collective cases many of the supposed 
hallucinatory objects were real, it would be unsafe to draw any 
inferences from this ; especially as, among the 38 cases, examination 
shows that in a considerably larger proportion of those where all 
present saw the object than of the others, there are grounds for sus- 
pecting that the objects were real and not hallucinatory. 

We may further use our collection as a basis for the discussion of 
the important question, how any hallucinations at all come to be 
collective. There are four possible hypotheses apart from the supposi- 
tion that the object collectively perceived, while not belonging to the 
ordinary external world, was yet a real object subject to physical laws. 
The difiiculties of this supposition have been discussed by Mr. 
Gurney in Phantasms of the Living, Vol. II., Chapter XVIII., and 
need not detain us now. 

Of the remaining four hypotheses, the first is that some real 
external object suggests to each percipient thi'ough the senses a 
hallucination which assumes a similar form for each owing to similar 
associations and trains of thought. This explanation seems to us 
admissible in special cases, e.g., in No. 317. p. 308, where, as both 
sisters were actually expecting to see the same sight in the same place, 
some movement in the distance may have acted for both as a starting 
point for the hallucination. But, as the narratives above given suffi- 
ciently show, this explanation cannot cover more than a small part of the 
cases of alleged collective hallucinations, and we must therefore for 
the remainder have recourse to one or more of the other three hypo- 
theses. These are : — 

(1) That a hallucination experienced by one percipient is trans- 
ferred to the other by verbal or other suggestion through the ordinary 

(2) That the hallucination of one percipient is similarly transferi-ed 
to the other, but telepathically — by mental suggestion. 

(3) That there is an external agent directly aflfecting the minds of 
both percipients and producing a hallucination independently in each, 
in some supernormal manner. 

The last hypothesis has been amplified by Mr. Myers in a " Note 
on a suggested mode of psychical interaction," appended to Phantasms 
of the Living, Vol. II., p. 277, et seq. The view there set forth was 


322 Report on the Census of Hallucinations. [chap. 

that in all cases there is an agent, who is himself telepathically or 
clairvoyantly affected, and that the appearance of this agent, A, to 
the percipients, B and C, depends on A's own perception of his own 
presence (psychically) in the scene where his phantasm is observed. 
Now there is, no doubt, a small amount of evidence supporting the 
view that persons clairvoyantly or telepathically perceiving a locality 
to which they feel themselves temporarily transported, as it were, may 
sometimes manifest themselves more or less clearly to a person in that 
locality. The experience of Mr. and Mrs. Newnham, in which Mr. 
Newnham dreamt very vividly that he saw Mrs. Newnham, to whom 
he was then engaged, going upstairs in her own house, and that running 
up after her, he clasped her round the waist ; while Mrs. Newnham, who 
was actually going upstairs at the time, thought she heard his step 
and felt his arms, ^ is a case in point. And another possible case is one 
of Dr. Backman's experiments, in which a clairvoyant girl describes a 
room in which a gentleman was sitting — he at the same time imagining 
that he saw a worn an. ^ 

But the evidence of this kind in our possession in not, in the view 
of the majority of the Committee, sufficient to justify us in regarding 
recriprocal telepathic influence as a completely established fact ; and 
even if it were otherwise, the rarity of the proved cases of reciprocity 
would still be a serious objection against admitting the hypothesis 
that we are now considering as a universally applicable explanation 
of collectivity. 

Further, if this reciprocal action between agent and percipient were 
a general explanation of collective hallucinations, we should expect to 
find that the agent, when a living person, was sometimes aware of it 
e.g., in the case of Miss K. E., seen by her sisters in the church, 
p. 306. But in the present collection we have no instance among 
the collective cases of consciousness of any reciprocal action : and 
there is only one such case — an auditory one — in Phantasms of the 

Finally, if Councillor Wesermann's record of an experiment, given 
in the Proceedings S.P.R., Vol. VI., p. 287, be accepted as trustworthy 
— and we know no reason for distrusting it — it seems to us to afford a 
crucial instance against the theory that reciprocal action between the 
distant agent and the percipients is a necessary condition of collective 
percipience. In this case we have an apparition experimentally pro- 
duced — an apparition not of the agent himself, but of a dead person ; 
it appears to the person whom the agent intended to impress, but not 

1 Phantctsvis of the Living, Vol. I., p. 225. 

2 Procee<Mnfjs S.P.R., Vol. VII., pp. 206-207. 

3 Vol. II., p. 164 (No. 308). 


Collective Hallucincdions. 


in the place where the agent believed the percipient to be ; and it 
appears not only to the intended percipient, but to a person unknown 
to the agent, and of whose local proximity to the intended percipient 
the agent was entirely unaware, until informed of it tlu'ough the 
ordinary channels of intelligence. Hence it seems clear (1) that the 
agent's success in impressing the percipient whom he intended to 
impress was entirely independent of the locality of the latter, and (2) 
that the channel of communication with the secondary percipient was 
through the first percipient and not through the agent's thought of 
the locality. 

The question, however, still remains whether the mere fact of col- 
lective perception of an apparition is a ground for supposing some 
supernormal action of an external agent on the joint percipients. This 
supposition is difficult to reconcile with the numerous^ cases in which 
the person represented in a collective hallucination is known not to 
have been passing through any crisis at the time of the halluci- 
nation : but a stronger argument against it lies in the cases where the 
apparition is not human. The cat, for instance, in No. 535.2 (see p. 
305) can hai'dly have caused its apparition by projecting itself 
psychically first into one house and then into another, in which the 
percipients happened to be. 

It is true that collective non-human apparitions are rare, but so are 
non-human apparitions which are not collective ; indeed, collective ex- 
periences are more than proportionately represented in the non-human 
classes. 2 

On the whole then, we can only allow, at most, a restricted applica- 
tion to the hypothesis that in collective hallucinations an external 
agent affects both percipients directly. In a considerable jDrogortion 
of cases we have to fall back on the other two hypotheses, and suppose 
that the phenomenon is due to the influence of one percipient on the 
other, either through ordinary or through telepathic suggestion. Of 
course, in cases in which there is a distant agent, — as in Councillor 

1 In 14 of the 27 cases reported to us of recognised apparitions of living persons 
collectively perceived, the person represented appears, from the statements made, to 
have been at the time in a perfectly ordinary condition. 

In one case in our Census (No. 296. 1) a hallucinatory chair is said to have been 
seen by two persnos ; one of whom (Mrs. Savile Lumley) describes the experience — 
which occurred many years ago— as follows : — 

"While taking a lesson in drilling and callisthenics, with a class of girls, at 20, 
Camden Place, Bath, in the forenoon ... I and another girl distinctly saw a 
chair over which we felt we must fall, and called out to each other to avoid it, 
but no chair ims there. All chairs were removed to make room. [I was] 14 or 15, in 
good health. Several [persons were present], but only one other saw the same — the 
girl who was immediately behind me." 

y 2 

324 Report on the Census of Hcdlueinations. [chap. 

Wesermann's case, and presumably in the coincidental cases,^ — the 
experiences of the simultaneous percipients may be both directly pro- 
duced by him ; but, even when this is to some extent the case, we are 
disposed to think that they are still seldom wholly independent of each 
other. If they were, it appears to us in the first place that, considering 
the variety of forms that telepathic impressions take, the hallucina- 
tions of different percipients in collective cases would be more often 
decidedly divergent than they are — would appeal to different senses, 
for instance, or one percipient would see an apparition standing and 
another would see it sitting, one would see it in one dress and one in 
another, etc. Or, if this does not happen because the form of the 
phantasm is due to the agent's thought, we should at least expect that 
it would generally be seen by the different percipients to occupy 
different positions in the room. 

It is not necessary to suppose that, if there is action by one 
percipient on the other, or mutual action between their minds, their 
percepts will in all respects agree. For instance, in No. 703. 24 
(see p. 317), where the hallucinations affected different senses, they 
may still have been the result of thought-transference between the 
percipients. All that we are maintaining is that it is difficult or 
impossible to explain the degree of agreement which we usually 
find on the assumption that the joercepts are independent of each 

We pass, then, to consider what, in collective cases, is the nature of 
the action between the minds of the jaercipients. Does it take place 
through the ordinary channels of sense, or is it telepathic 1 As regards 
the first hypothesis, we explained in Chapter X., pp. 176-7, that we 
have at pi'esent no conclusive evidence for the possibility of the sudden 
production of a sensory hallucination in a person in an entirely normaP 
state, by word or gesture. But it is quite possible that the vividness 
of impression, pi'oduced in A by the hallucination, may be required in 
order to enable his word or movement to convey the impression to B 
with hallucination-producing force. A mere idea or effort of the 
imagination is a very different thing from the feeling of reality which 
a hallucination momentarily gives. At any rate, it would not be safe 
to assume that the action between the minds has been telepathic, unless 

^ The proportion of collective cases among coincidental hallucinations in the 
Census i.s slightly smaller than among hallucinations generally, but there is not a 
great difference. Seven visual death-coincidences are said to have been collective 
out of 2fi in which the percipient had a waking companion. 

- The instances known to us in which hallucinations have been produced by 
verbal suggestion, outside the hypnotic state, are either (a) cases of persons wt o 
have previously been hypnotized, or (b) cases where the effect has been produced b\ 
prolonged and insistent effort. 


Collective Hallucinations. 


we have excluded the possibility of ordinary suggestion, and it is 
very difficult to exclude this completely. There is hardly a case among 
those which we have given in the course of the present report, where 
we can feel sure that it did not operate in some degree. It is 
obvious, however, that suggestion of this kind would more easily 
account for the phenomenon in some cases than in others. If the 
figure seen is that of a person who is well known to both percipients, 
who is more likely to be in that place than any one else, or still 
more if he is actually expected by both (as in No. 317. 14, p. 308), a 
very small amount of sensory suggestion from A might convey the 
idea to B, and if they were both to have hallucinations they would 
be likely to have similar ones. On the other hand, if the figure seen 
is an unfamiliar one (as in No. 535. 2, p. 305, and 256. 17, p. 310), we can 
hardly conceive that the idea of it could be conveyed from one per- 
cipient to the other through the senses in the brief time available. No 
doubt there is a possibility that in comparing notes immediately after 
the experience, the percipients may have unconsciously brought their 
recollections into a unison of detail not warranted by the original 
impressions. But our enquiries have not produced any positive 
evidence that this has occurred : and to suppose it to have occurred to 
the extent required in order to explain collective hallucinations 
entirely by sensory suggestion, seems to us unwarrantable and ex- 

We think, therefore, that in the explanation of these cases, the 
hypothesis of ordinary suggestion must be at least supplemented by 
that of telepathic suggestion. For those who believe in telepathy, mental 
suggestion is really an easier explanation of collective hallucinations than 
verbal suggestion ; for not only can we imagine the idea thus conveyed 
pictorially, as it were, and with full details, in an instant, but we have 
actual experimental instances of hallucinations telepathically produced 
in persons in a normal state, by the intention of another person. In 
these experimental cases, moi'eover, the effect was produced under 
apparently less favourable circumstances — namely, greater distance and 
absence of any indication that there was anything special to be looked 
for.i On the whole we are inclined to think that in collective cases 
there is generally a combination of telepathy with suggestion by woixl 
or gesture, each helping the other ; and that this is the reason why 
the proportion of collective cases out of those in which a second 
possible percipient was present is large compared with the proportion 

^ In visual collective oases there must generally be at least the indication given 
by the direction of the eyes— an indication to which most of us are habitually sensi- 
tive. For evidence of this among cases printed in this chapter, see especially Nos . 
535. 2 (p. 305), 647. 7 (p. 306), 256. 17 (p. 310). 


Report on the Census of Hallucinations. [chap. 

of successful cases of telepathy among those in which we must suppose 
that persons dying, or in some other crisis, have desired to communicate 
with their friends. 

The Sharing of Hallucinations by Animals. 

Before concluding this chapter, we have to discuss a special class 
of alleged collective hallucinations of which nothing has as yet been 
said — those, namely, in which it is believed by our informants that 
animals who were present with them when they saw apparitions 
shared in the experience. There appears to be some evidence (occa- 
sionally very slight) of this in 15 out of the 27 cases in the Census 
where the presence of animals ^ is recorded. 

There is, so far as we know, no reason to assume that animals 
cannot experience hallucinations ; but it is necessarily very difficult to 
prove that they do experience them ; because, as they cannot describe 
what they see and hear, we can only infer it from their behaviour, for 
which tliere may be other causes besides the apparition. In some 
cases it is at least as plausible to suppose that the emotion of the horse 
or dog is caused by the behaviour or appearance of his master when 
seeing the apparition, as to suppose it caused by any sharing of his 
master's hallucination. For instance, consider the case of Mr. Mamt- 
chitch, quoted in Chapter XVII. Mr. Mamtchitch tells us, at p, 389, 
that cei'tain effects observable by those with him are produced on himself 
each time he sees the apparition which has so frequently recurred in 
his experience. Is it not probable that the behaviour of the dog de- 
scribed at p. 390 was due to the distress caused by his master's unusual 
state rather than by seeing the apparition, especially as he does not 
seem to have behaved as he habitually did when a stranger intruded 
into the room?^ When the action of the animal which leads to the 
inference that he is a co-percipient precedes the seeing of the appari- 
tion by the human percipient — which is said to have occurred in 5 of 
the 15 cases in which animals play a part — there is, no doubt, generally 
suggestion from the animal ; but that may be the whole of his share in 
the phenomenon. In the following case, for instance, the dog's growl and 
the direction of his gaze suggested to Mr. S. that some one was coming 
in ; but the dog's action may have had quite a different cause. 

1 In all but one of these cases, the animal was either a horse or a dog. In the 
other case it was a parrot, but the details of the account are too meagre for it to be 
possible to lay any stress on it. 

- The evidence for Mr. Mamtchitch 's little son sharing his hallucination on one 
occasion (see p. 390) is much stronger than that for the dog's doing so ; because, 
though the child could scarcely speak, he could say enough to show that he thought 
he saw a woman. 


Collective Ha llucinations. 


(157.11.) From Mr. H. E. S. 

August Sth, 1892. 

"[When aged about 18] about the year 1874, in my father's house, I got 
up one summer morning about five o'clock, and lighted a fire to get myself 
some tea. A large bull-terrier dog used to follow me about everywhere, so 
of course he had to be near me when I was getting the fire to light. He 
gave a short growl and looked towards the door ; this caused me to look 
round, and to my great terror I saw a tall, dark figure with flashing bright 
eyes coming into the kitchen towards me. I screamed for help and fell to 
the floor. My father and brothers ran down from their bedrooms thinking 
that thieves were in the house. I told them what I had seen, but they 
said it was an imagination caused by a recent illness. But why should the 
dog have seen something as well as myself 1 This dog often used to see 
things invisible to me. He would start and snap at them, and then turn to 
me a look with his big eyes, as much as to say : ' Did you see that ? ' " 

In this case the percipient had had two other hallucinations, 
one before, (at the age of five years), and one after that here quoted, 
so that he probably had a more than average susceptibility to them ; 
though it appears that the dog's behaviour often suggested the presence 
of things invisible to him, without producing a hallucination. 

In the two following cases thei'e is even less indication that the dog 
saw the apparition, though there is a good deal of indication that he 
was the cause of his master's seeing it. 

(116. 11.) From the Rev. J. W. 

(The account was written in 1891.) 

"[I saw] lady looking into room about 12.30 [a.]m. ; saw lier in clear 
moonlight ; about the year 1862. [I was] reading and writing, till called 
out by howling of dog. [I] believed she was on [the] sea at the time. No 
person present, but the dog shared the experience, as he was in the utmost 
terror. [I have] never again [had such an experience. I] took no notes 
but never forgot it." 

(283. 25.) From Mr. L. D. 

J cmuary, 1890. 

' ' I was awakened by a little dog (which used to lie at the bottom of my 
'bed), and looking towards the window, I distinctly saw the figure of a 
woman. She was dressed in a low necked dress and short sleeves bunched 
up on the shoulder. I asked about it and could gain no information." 

In the following case it is doubtful whether the dog's excitement 
"began before or after the experience of the human percipient. It will 
be noticed that to those persons who did not see the apparition, the 
dog's behaviour does not appear to have at the time suggested the need 
of a supernormal explanation. 

328 Report on the Census of Hallucinations. [chap. 

(583. 14.) From Mrs, T. 

(Translated from the original Russian by Mr. Aksakolf.) 

October, 1891. 

Notes prises sit,r le recit de Madame T. 

" En 187 — Madame T. se trouvait un jour chez ses voisins de campagne, 
M. et Mme. B., a P., leur bien (au gouvernement deTwer). La conversation 
s'engagea sur un evenement tragique, qui eu lieu dans la famille des T., qui 
finit par le suicide d'un des parents de Mme. T. ; tout a coup elle le vit 
apparaitre dans la chambre contigue au salon oil ils se trouvaient, et dont la 
porte etait ouverte . Au meme moment, le cliien de la maitresse de la maison, 
qui etait C(juche a ses pieds, se redressa, et coramenga a aboyer f urieusement 
dans la direction de la porte. M. et Mme. B. ne virent rien, car ils tour- 
naient le dos a cette porte, et Mme. T. ne leur dit rien de ce qu'elle avait 

Cor\JirmatioH de ce recit par mie lettre du temoin, Madame B. 

October Will, 1891. 
" C'etait en 187 — a notrebien, P. (gouv. de Twer). Nous etions trois : 
Mme. T. , notre voisine, qui etait venue nous voir, mon niari et moi ; nous 
nous trouvions dans le petit s ilon de notre maison de campagne, non loin 
d'une porte ouverte donnant sur ma chambre k coucher, eclairee par una 
grande fenetre. Madame T. ^tait assise sur une couchette, en face de cette 
porte ; moi j'etais assise aujDres d'elle sur un tabouret, aussi en face de cette 
porte ; mais mon mari se trouvait dans un coin, de fagon qu'il ne voyait pas 
cette porte. A mes pieds etait couche mon chien Beppo, la tete tourn^e vers 
cette porte. Nous parlions de I'^v^nement qui venait d'avoir lieu dans la 
famille des T., ou la femme, entrainee par la passion, abaiidonna ses enfants 
et son mari, et celui-ci, dans son d^sespoir, se brula la cervelle. Mon mari 
accusait la femme, Mme. T. accusait le mari, qu'elle avait toujours beaucoup 
aime, mais dans ce cas elle ne I'excusait pas. Tout k coup elle se tut, et le 
chien, relevant la tete, se mit h hurler et voulut se pr^cipiter vers la porte 
<;)uverte de la chambre k c<jucher ; tout son jjoil se herissa, et il s'arrachait 
de mes mains pour se jeter sur quelqu'un. J 'avals grande peine k le 
retenir ; mon mari voulait le battre, et moi je le defendait. Ni moi, ni lui, 
nous ne vimes rien hors la colere de notre chien. Mme. T. se taisait, et 
quand notre chien se calma, elle proposa de passer dans la salle, oii se trouvait 
son mari. Bientot M. et Muie. T. partirent et ce n'est que plus tard, 
quand j'allai leur faire une visite k leur campagne, que Mme. T. me dit 
qu'elle avait vu, au-devant de la porte de ma ch;imbre a coucher, le fantome 
de celui qu'elle accusait — vetu de blanc, et avec une expression de desespoir 
dans ses mouvements, comme lui reprochant qu'elle aussi ^tait contre lui. 
' Votre Beppo a vu la meme chose, me dit elle, il etait furieux et voulait se 
jeter sur cette apparition.' J'ai bien vu la furie de Beppo, mais je n'ai pas 
vu I'apparition. "N.B." 

The following is an instance of a horse supposed to see an appari- 
tion. It is, again, rather doubtful whether the unwonted experience 
began with the animal or with the man. In the latter case we must 
allow for the disturbing effect ou the pony, which would certainly be 


Collective Hallucinations. 


considerable, if — as must have happened — his rider pulled him up as 
though there was an obstacle in front of him, when there was none. 

(532. 6.) From Captain C. 

December 5th, 1891. 
"Between 10 and 11 one moonlight night, in December, 1865, or 
January, 1866, in Darjeeling, whilst riding my hill-pony at a sharp trot 
along the mountain road from that station to the convalescent depot, J ulla- 
pahur, where I happened to be stationed at the time on sick leave, 
I suddenly saw before me what appeared to be a dead native, wrapped m a 
white sheet, and lying stretched across the road. My pony evidently saw the 
apparition, or whatever it was, at the same time, for he instantly reared up 
and fell over backwards with me on the road, and dragged me close to the 
edge of a ' khud ' or precipice. I regained my feet just in time, and raised the 
prostrate animal by the bridle. Found it trembling in every limb, and much 
frightened. Looked round angrily to ' wig ' the native — thinking him to be, 
perhaps, a drunken Bhootea, or Hill-man, lying there, when, lo and behold ! 
he had disappeared ! On one side was the precipice, on the other the precipi- 
tous mountain side, clothed with a few trees higher up, and not an object else 
to be seen but the white road! Mounting, and making my way half or three- 
quarters of a mile further on to my bungalow, I handed the pony over to one 
of my servants. He presently came to me and said, ' Sir, what is the matter 
with the pony ; he is trembling all over ? ' After a while, my syce, or groom, 
came running up aird entered the stable. (It is usual for native grooms, or 
syces, in India to run on foot after their masters' horses. ) He likewise soon 
presented himself before me, saying, ' Sir, what is wrong with your pony ; he 
seems to be much frightened 1 ' I then told him what had happened, and 
asked if he had met or seen anyone on the road 1 ' No, sir ; not a soul all the 
way, ' replied he. ' Did you notice anything strange at all ? ' ' No ; nothing 
whatever, sir.' 

" I remained some months after that at Jullapahur, and never could I 
ride my pony up and down that road leading to Darjeeling without his 
showing the utmost trepidation whenever he approached that particular 
spot. I may mention that I was a good deal cut and bruised by the sudden 
and unlooked-for fall, and so also was the unfortunate pony. And to this 
day I cannot account for my adventure. 

" [I was at the time] on nine months' sick-leave from Bhootan, where I 
had contracted fever during the campaign, but was convalescent at the time, 
and able to go about in the better climate of the hills at Darjeeling ; was 
then about 24 years old." 

In answer to enquiries, Captain C. adds : — 

' ' The apparition, when I first saw it, seemed to be quite close — a yard or 
two only in front of my pony's head. I came across it very suddenly in trot- 
ting quickly round a sharp curve of the road, which curve was made by the 
road running round a somewhat pointed spur of the mountain there jutting 
out. The road was white— a good and smooth one — and the night bright 
moonlight, with occasional intervals of less light, i.e., when the moon became 
obscured by passing clouds, but even then it was by no means too dark to see 
objects around. Bhooteas and other Hill-men were in the habit of visiting 

330 Report on the Census of Hallucinations. [chap. 

the bazaar (Darjeeling) with loads of firewood, fowls, and vegetables for sale, 
and some of these occasionally indulged too freely in arrack and toddy, and 
have been known to lie about the I'oads in a state of intoxication. I conse- 
quently took my apparition at first to be a drunken Bhootea, lying wrapjjed 
up in his sheet on the road ; but the remarkable thing is, if so, where coidd 
the fellow have disap^xared to so very rapidly and completely, for on my right 
hand was the tremendous 'khud,' or precipice, and on my left nothing Imt 
the steep mountain side, up which there was nothing to prevent my seeing a 
good way till the trees were reached. I had in those days, and have still, 
capital sight, and having had rather a stirring life, having gone through many 
a trying and dangerous experience, both in time of war and of peace — the 
Indian Mutiny campaign, and Bhootan War, etc. — I am not easily upset or 
frightened. But what the thing could have been beats my comjarehension, 
nor could any of my brother officers or friends in Darjeeling at the time, or 
afterwards, solve the mystery." 

Readers of the Journal will remember that it has been maintained 
(see Journal S.P.R., Vol. IV., p. 296-7) that "one of the most 
commonly I'eported incidents connected with a post-mortem phantasm 
is the evident terror shown by animals present at the time, a feature 
which," the writer says, "is absent, so far as I know, in phantasms of 
the living." He calculated that of the cases publi.shed by the S.P.R., 
animal terror was not recorded in connection with any recognised 
phantasm of a living person, but was reported in about 12 per cent, of 
other cases, " nearly all unrecognised, but generally assumed by the 
percipient to be post-mortem, for reasons more or less cogent." This 
result is not confirmed by the present collection. Fear or alarm 
seemed to have been exhibited by the animals in about 8 of the 15 
cases in which they are supposed to have seen the apparitions seen by 
human percipients. In one of these, viz.. No. 116. 11 (see p. 327), the 
apparition was of a living person ; in one, viz., No. 422. 22, (see p. 390), 
of a dead person ; and in the other six unrecognised. In none of the 
unrecognised cases is there any good reason for associating the 
apparition with a dead person, and, except in one case (No. 80. 21, 
see Journal S.P.R., Vol. IV., p. 139), no reason is even suggested. 

On the whole the reported cases of animals seeing apparitions do 
not appear to us to afford material support to the evidence for 
collectivity, nor need they, we think, influence our views as to its 




Chapter XVI. 


In Chapter XIV. we gave some instances of hallucinations 
occurring during the illness of the persons whom they represented or 
suggested to the percipient. We there regarded such an experience as 
due to telepathy,— supposing it to be probably contemporaneous with a 
crisis of illness and caused by the condition of the mind or nervous 
system of the person passing through the crisis. At the same time, we 
are aware that, where the illness had a fatal termination, the popular 
view of such a hallucination — so far a